"Lizarb" by Batik

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The fifth track on my SoundCloud Playlist is “Lizarb” by Batik.

Batik is an eclectic jazz/world/fusion group featuring Dave Anthony, Tom Nazziola, Tim Ouimette, John Roggie and myself. “Lizarb,” composed by John Roggie, is the first track on our debut CD, “Vudu” released in 2009. “Lizarb,” in case you haven’t figured it out, is actually Brazil spelled backwards. “Lizarb” features a few Brazilian sounds and percussion instruments in addition to some wild retro funk, electronic sounds, highly interactive improvising and an unconventional form.

Like much of the music on John’s “PumpDigSwirl” CDs, “Lizarb” was originally created as a very slick, all electronic music track with synthesizers and samples. When the composition was presented to Batik, we all learned parts from John’s recording and it evolved from there. The bulk of the Batik recording was recorded live in my studio (Barry Hartglass Digital), and then we overdubbed more parts later.

The introduction starts with an unusual sample of some women (Brazilian?) singing. I have no idea what they are singing or what language they are singing in. Portuguese? After the singing, Dave recorded some extra percussion (2 Kanjira parts, a Fish Drum, a Berimbau, and a Cuica), at his home studio (Beat Juice Studio). The rainstick and latin percussion from there on were played by Tom and the drums were played by Dave, all part of the initial live recording.

The main “theme” that happens from around 0:38 – 1:57 features a stack of trumpets in harmony. Tim played 3 (sometimes 4) trumpets with a harmon mute and 1 loud open trumpet. I doubled the main melody with a single soprano sax part and this helped to smooth out the tone of the trumpet stack. This melody and sound combination was a new addition to John’s original concept. All of the other parts (drums, percussion, wurly, synths and bass) were based on his original track.

After a short wurly interlude that includes sounds from the introduction, there is a trippy, “out” trumpet solo with a harmon mute over a new combination of parts and sounds heard earlier. This is followed by Tom’s vocal loop and John’s wurly solo, in a new key and with sort of a samba feel. There was a wild synth solo after this that was edited out in order to shorten the recording down to just over 8 minutes.

After the wurly solo, a 5 note riff is introduced (G# B C# E# F#) which was not part of John’s original version but spontaneously added during one of our first rehearsals. This section becomes the trumpet solo. Listen carefully to the interaction of the ensemble here. This is some of Batik’s best jamming on the CD and a great example of the unique chemistry of the group.

The unusual ending is another new combination of some of the previous sounds.

For more info about Batik, please visit our website: www.batikjazz.com

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