A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of hosting Richmond, VA's Glows in the Dark on WFMU. Representing a nice little active scene in Richmond, Glows exists on an axis where avant jazz and film soundtracks meet. And while that may sound on paper like it could be a mess, in reality the seamlessness between the two styles is pretty astonishing. So when I marveled to guitarist/chief songwriter Scott Burton at the audible effortlessness of moving between driving four-on-the-floor beats to free scree to lounge music to creeping horror film scores, he confessed that the band spends a lot of time working on transitions. That work pays off.
The comparison that Glows brings to mind is a less bludgeoning version of John Zorn's Naked City, yet I can't help but position Glows as part of a tradition of jazz's relationship to the movies, whether it's the appearence of countless big bands in talkies during the Ellington/Basie era, to Miles Davis's soundtrack Ascenseur pour L'Echafaud and Herbie Hancock's The Blow-Up, to the funk jazz of blaxploitation and crime films and beyond. Check out their album, Music to Listen to Glows in the Dark By. Someone should hire this band to score their next film! Thanks to Sean Austin for engineering.
The Long Rally; Air date: June 10, 2009; Engineer: Sean Austin
Scott Burton, guitar, composition; Scott Clark, drums; John Lilley, sax; Reggie Pace, trombone; Cameron Ralston, bass