Zubatto Syndicate — Zubatto Syndicate
(Boscology BOS-SZ-001, 2011, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2014-05-19Progressive Big Band? Sure, why not? Composer Andrew Boscardin has assembled a large ensemble consisting of saxophones and brass along with clarinet (of standard and bass varieties), bassoon, oboe, flute, and a rhythm section, and takes his music into the territory near the crossroads of jazz, rock, and modern chamber music. At times, the listener may be reminded of movie soundtrack music, especially movies from the 70s, when filmmakers didn't all go for big orchestra or mainstream rock exclusively. The wonderful cover art depicts a wildly retro-futuristic city scene, with robots and aliens interacting with American cars of the 50s, and the sci-fi theme is carried through to the song titles: "The Trouble with Earth Women," "Mechas over Manhattan," and "A Brief History of Time Travel" are a few examples. Structurally, many of the pieces follow the familiar pattern of stating a melody, instrumental solos, and a return to the head to finish off, but there are many twists and turns along the way. Fans of Frank Zappa's instrumental music should find much to like, though Zappa's fussy rhythmic complexity isn't emulated. In short, Zubatto Syndicate may look like a Big Band, but the music isn't entirely jazz, and the quality of the composing, arranging, and playing merits attention from adventurous music fans.
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more