Zen Bastards | April Fool

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Jazz: Acid Jazz Jazz: Modern Free Jazz Moods: Type: Improvisational
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April Fool

by Zen Bastards

Reminiscent of the great Miles Davis experiments of the 70's that produced Bitches Brew, with a generous nod to Weather Report, Ornette Coleman, Primetime, Late Trane and Albert Ayler, they incorporate elements of free jazz, electronica, hip hop & more.
Genre: Jazz: Acid Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Like Iguana Without the G
15:21 $0.99
2. I.o.d.
6:32 $0.99
3. Lydia's Dance
4:32 $0.99
4. Caledonia
10:34 $0.99
5. Psychotic Larry Versus the Toaster Oven
3:52 $0.99
6. April Fool
13:41 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The Zen Bastards came together in the fall of 2000 after meeting in the studio while working on a project for the Boston acid jazz/trip hop band Hyptonic.
The members bring together a diverse set of musical knowledge and experience to create a unique blend of styles. In February of 2001, Zen Bastards began a Monday night residency at The SkyBar in Somerville, Massachusetts. Now well into it's second year, the Bastards have honed their improvisational and communication skills during their residency and are creating ever more intense music. Reminiscent of the great Mile Davis experiments in the early 70's that produced Bitches Brew, with a generous nod to Weather Report, Ornette Coleman, Primetime, Late Trane and Albert Ayler, The Bastards incorporate elements of free jazz, electronica, hip hop, funk, rock and fusion to create a totally modern and unique sound!

The Bastards recorded debut "April Fool" features 55 minutes of improvisational journeys that touch on a number of styles including jazz, jam, electronic music, funk, spoken word, and a bit a "punk" jazz. Recorded over two weekends in 2001 at 7A West Studio, the band invited several guests to the sessions and the resulting track "Caledonia" is pure improvisational madness. "Caledonia" features the spoken word mayhem of Adam Oh (neon grandma), Guitarists Jim Dennis and Dan Ledger, percussionist Don Uva, and the exquisite space bass of Dane Scalise along with the core group.

Michael Caglianone "aka the Grand Bastard" - soprano, tenor, baritone and electric saxophone, saxello

Michael has worked as a musician, composer, engineer, producer, personal manager and promoter in the Northeastern US for 20 years. A Berklee alum,(class of 83) he has played and recorded with fellow students Branford Marsalis, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Donald "Duck" Harrison, Greg Osby, Marvin "Smitty" Smith, Walter Beasley and others. During breaks from Berklee he went to L.A. To study with Art Pepper. He ended up touring the West coast with Pepper and played several shows with Chet Baker. Mike has also studied and played with Joe Lovano and Andy McGee.

Mike remains very active in the business side of the industry while continuing to play shows. He has composed music for various large scale installations and theatre productions including "Clean Memories of the Big Fish" on Boston's City Hall Plaza, Performers Ensemble "Medea" "Portraits for 2 and 3 Dancers" for the MJT Dance Company and the multi-media architectural space "Shrine to the Private Marching Songs" designed by Architect Eric Gould.

As a player Mike and led the improvisational group Syzygy for 15 years. He is the founding member and current "Grand Bastard" of the Zen Bastards.

Scott Vercoe - hohner clavinet, fender rhodes, synthesizer

Scott hails from a musical lineage. Both his mother and father are musicians and noted composers of contemporary classical music. A graduate of Oberlin as a composition major, Scott is extremely active in the music scene as a founding member of the groove/soul band Hyptonic as well as the band Zen Bastards. He has performed with many notable musicians and has numerous recording and composition credits including being the driving force behind the critically acclaimed "Invisible Movie Soundtrack" an eclectic concept album featuring many notable Boston area musicians. Scott is well versed in many styles of music from classical to jazz, hip hop to improv.

Brian Verrochi - electric bass

Brian was born in Dorchester, MA and grew up in Quincy, MA, a suburb of Boston.He was introduced to the bass at age eleven. Brian enhanced his musical training by studying piano and voice. He was a student at the Boston Archdioceson Choir School for a total of four years, where he studied under John Dunn. Immediately after graduation from Boston College High School in 1995, where he studied Jazz Theory under Matt Finnegan, Brian was granted a scholarship to Berklee where he concentrated on the upright and electric bass under the guidance of Jim Stinnette. Within that same year, he received the prestigious "Louis Armstrong Jazz Achievement Award." Embracing many styles of music, Brian focuses his talent on Rock, Jazz, Blues, and Funk. It is this diversity that he brought to SEVEN 13/COVEN 13 in 1999. Since that time, Brian's contributions to the band have been a stalwart of skill, volume, and endurance.

Jim Lucchese - drums and percussion

Jim "the sammich" Lucchese has been performing throughout New England and the mid-Atlantic states for over 10 years. A student of Bob Guilotti, he is extremely well versed in a variety of musical styles and brings a unique dynamic and grand sense of humor to the Zen Bastards. A veteran of the Boston band Neon Grandma, he has also performed with Kemp Harris, Adam Oh, Hyptonic, and has recently completed a stint as percussionist with the band Strangefolk.



to write a review

Soundcheck Magazine / JR Walsh

the effort to discover Zen Bastards is well worth it.
Zen Bastards - April Fool - 6-song CD

Produced and Mixed by Michael Caglianone • Recorded at7A West Studio, Charlestown, MA by engineer loana Pieleanu • Mastered by Jonathan Wyner at M- Works

Whitey Bulger. The Garment District. A parking spot. Like so many things in Boston, Zen Bastards are initially hard to find. First off, they're veterans of the local scene, so they won't get much coverage from the music rags. Second, their gig residency was at the Skybar. Third, the cover of their debut release, April Fool, looks like a Norwegian black metal album designed on a Commodore 64. And the topper: they play jazz - not exactly the trend dujour. Self-proclaimed "Grand Bastard" Michael Caglianone is not only a saxamaphonogomist but he's also a promoter - meaning he should know better. But maybe he's onto something, dig? April Fool is full of speakeasy free jazz and delightfully free of overproduction with no overdubs. Blending elements of In a Silent Way and Ornette Coleman with more modern flushes of keyboards, this music flies under the radar. Scott Vercoe tinkles the Fender Rhodes and synth but doesn't softcore it. Caglianone wails when he needs to and falls into the groove when the band steps it up. Brian Verrochi's electric bass doesn't succumb to Seinfeld popping cliches but rather swings with Jim Lucchese's controlled skin heatings. Even the disjointed "Psychotic Larry Versus the Toaster Oven” manages to groove. There’s a single misstep on the Waitsian “Caledonia”, a spoken word bit that sounds too contrived to be the free associative beat poem it aspires to. But like the other hidden pleasures of Boston, the effort to discover Zen Bastards is well worth it. -JR Walsh

Cadence Magazine / Phillip McNally

The Zen Bastards are worth watching, just to see how they develop.
(1) ZEN BASTARDS • APRIL FOOL • 7A Records 001.
Like Iguana without the 'G' • I.O. D. • Lydia's Dance • Caledonia • Psychotic Larry versus the Toaster Oven • April Fool 54:37

Michael Caglianone ss, ts, bar, el as • Scott Vercoe
kybds • Brian Verrochi el b • Jimmy 'the sammich' Lucchese d, 'outbursts.
March 31, April 1, June 1 & 3, 2001,Charlestown,MA.

These are a couple of Pop oriented recordings, one of them interesting and filled with some promise, the other far too predictable. (1) is the debut of a Massachusetts based quartet working on the more adventurous side of "Acid Jazz." The Zen Bastards have a nice edge and a fun sense of complexity mixed with their funk. There is a bit of the big beat here, and a bit of Sun Ra, and also a bit of the banal. The band works in a pattern, beginning usually with some slow, atmos-pheric electronics that gradually develop into a riff that generates a rhythm base, over which the soloists take out to the stratosphere before the riff slowly dissolves into a soft electronic exit. But they handle this pattern with enough variety to keep it from seeming trite. There are a lot of bands out there these days tracking this same territory between Acid Jazz and Free Music, and there is a lot of talent here. But it's hard to tell which of these bands are really headed some-where into the future, and which ones are along for the ride. The Zen bastards are worth watch-ing, just to see how they develop.
Phillip McNally