The Zubatto Syndicate, a 12-piece ensemble under the direction of composer and guitarist Andrew Boscardin, has released its self-titled debut recording as a digital download, CD, and limited-edition vinyl double LP, featuring distinctive artwork by noted science-fiction artist Franco Brambilla.
Drawing sounds from rock, hip-hop, funk, soul and Brazilian music, Zubatto Syndicate is a highly original take on the Big Band jazz tradition. Seeking to find the musical place where Maria Schneider meets the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and the Roots meet Radiohead by way of Mingus, Zubatto combines detailed arrangements and inventive harmonic ideas with rhythmic settings and idioms atypical of the jazz orchestra, as realized by the some of the top improvising musicians in Seattle.
The recording was made with the support of the American Music Centerʼs CAP Recording Program, made possible by endowment funds from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, as well as through the funds raised with the micro-patronage website Kickstarter.com.
The fusing together of disparate sounds and ideaspop and jazz, combining orchestral winds with electric sounds, the new and the traditionalis a central theme for the band, in the music as well as the nods to classic Science Fiction in the song titles and the album artwork. Science fiction imagery was part of the concept of the band and music from the very beginning," says Boscardin. Even before writing a note of music, I wanted to use classic science fiction art from the 50's for posters, and promotional materials and started collecting as many vintage magazines as I could get my hands on. The idea of a modern or forward-thinking Big Band, to me, conjured up the same tension between seemingly contradictory elements as vintage science fiction artwork. One embodies something new harkening back in time to a rich tradition and pulling those associations forward to now. The other is something old and often kitschy reaching forward in time to an imaginary future. It was that idea that appealed to meto create something that was as out of time" as that artwork. The group name itself, was intended to sound futuristic and mysterious in a campy fashion. We all know that words that start with 'Z' are automatically futuristic."
Even the instrumentation of the band reflects this idea, with the more traditional Big Band instruments like saxophones and brass being joined by orchestral woodwinds from one end of the spectrum and an electric rhythm section from the other. I wanted a group that provided a big palette and lots of textures but that was still nimble and rocks like a band one-third its size. If there is a Big Band equivalent of the Led Zeppelin maxim 'Tight But Loose,' that's the idea for Zubatto. We're still a chamber group or bar band, just a relatively big one with a bassoon."
The music itself covers a wide range of ideas and styles. There's the sounds and structure of punk and metal in Mechas Over Manhattan," a swaggering hip-hop groove under the woodwind and synth textures of A Brief History of Time Travel," a dancing Brazilian samba powers Saturn 9," a lazy blues shuffle swings through The Trouble With Earth Women" and a chunky guitar rock riff combines with a horn fanfare for Lords and Ladies of Venus." All of these different ideas are unified by the unique sound of the band and its instrumentation and the voice of Boscardin's compositions.
In today's economic climate, the musical, monetary and logistical challenges encountered in presenting daring and ambitious large scale musical projects is at times, a daunting task. Andrew Boscardin has embraced this formidable process and created an artistic statement with the Zubatto Syndicate that will impress, inspire, and illuminate fans of profound and celebratory musical vision.
The new ZUBATTO SYNDICATE release features:
Andrew Boscardin: guitar / Janet Putnam: oboe and English horn / Jesse Canterbury: clarinets / Greg Sinibaldi: bass clarinet and tenor saxophone / Francine Peterson: bassoon / Mark Taylor: alto saxophone / Jim DeJoie: baritone sax and bass clarinet / Chad McCullough: trumpet / David Marriott, Jr: trombone / Mack Grout: keys / Tim Carey: electric bass / Byron Vannoy: drums.
The album is available directly from the band at zubattosyndicate.com, as well as from CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon.com and other online and retail outlets.
What the press is saying about Zubatto Syndicate:
A big band unafraid to foray into the modern pop idiom." Jonathan Zwickel, Seattle Times (Jul 16, 2010)
The Seattle music scene is known for many genres of music, most notably grunge, indie-rock, and hip-hop. Zubatto Syndicate gives Seattle a good reason to add big band jazz to this list. Whether youʼre a jazz novice or enthusiast, Zubatto Syndicateʼs mass musical influence and improv talent will get you dancing and appreciating this local twist on traditional big band jazz." Suzi Pratt, Seattle Show Gal (Apr 12, 2010)
Music that's solid and involving. On guitarist/leader Andrew Boscardin's compositionswhich lay down intricate patterns and odd-hued harmoniesthe band delivered some great soloing, especially from alto player Clark Gibson. This is a band that deserves a hearing." Mark D. Fefer, Seattle Weekly (Apr 14, 2010)
It's really up-tempo. It's not the kind of thing you're going to want to listen to sitting down and watching. (Not) a sleepy jazz show where you sit down and have your drinks." Hugo Kugiya, The Seattle Times (Apr 13, 2010)
Big band the way youʼve never heard it before. Go so you can tell all the Johnny-come-latelies you heard it first. Editor's Pick" Brangien Davis, Seattle Magazine (Oct 30, 2009)
If you feel like dancing to Zubatto Syndicate, it'll be because you can't resist a snaky bass riff. In fact, if all goes well, you'll want to drop your pants. Boscardin's arrangements unfold in surprising ways... The solos are uncharted territory." Michael Baker, The SunBreak (Oct 19, 2009)