Zubatto Syndicate

A new world of Big Band music

Release Week: A Song A Day, Part 4

Posted by on Jun 3, 2011

To celebrate the official release of Zubatto Syndicate, we’ll be sharing one song from the record each day with some behind-the-scenes thoughts about the music. We’re also offering the download of Zubatto Syndicate as “pay what you want” from now until the release party on June 11th! Pay nothing or pay $20 – you decide.

Inspector Automaton (Z9)

Believe or not – this tune started out as a James Brown style funk groove. It’s still there in the bass and drums, and you can hear it a bit when the saxes and brass come in after the initially melody, but it very quickly evolved into something else. Part of it is my complete inability as composer to let things sit still. I’m working on it. I love music that just hangs out on chord or a vamp or a groove, but when I sit down to write, I am constantly driven to move stuff around. The melody wanted to go to a Zappa-esque woodwind place, and the harmony just started rolling with its own momentum.

After our first gig, Mack Grout and I were talking about the music and the band, and the challenge of “bringing the rock.” His feeling (and mine) was that if the rhythm section delivered the rock or funk or the hip-hop, the whole thing would come across the way that it was intended. If we didn’t, then it would sound too much like “Big Band Jazz.” Which isn’t a bad thing at all, but not what I was going for. The key to the identity of the band really lays with the rhythm section, and the pieces were going to come to life or not according to foundation and the bottom end. This is especially true of this tune, which I actually cut from a couple of gigs, because it just wasn’t working right. I’m glad I didn’t get rid of it completely, because we eventually found its identity and that kernel of JB that ignites the booster rocket and gets this one into orbit.

Tim Carey really lays it down on the bass on this one – that glissando sounds like it’s never going to find the bottom! The addition of Tim to the band played a huge part in finding and solidifying the Zubatto sound and identity. My original idea for Zubatto featured upright bass, but it became apparent after the first show that electric would better get across the sound that I was looking for, and Tim brought all of the missing ingredients for Zubatto lift-off.

Solos are by David Marriott, Jr. (trombone), Jim DeJoie (baritone), and me (guitar).

My favorite Robot Detective is R. Daneel Olivaw, but the tradition of the cyborg cop in science fiction is a rich and honored one, including H8, Blue Senturian and RoboCop. Should we count Rick Deckard?

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