Adrian Lomax has discovered a wonderful musical connection between two seemingly dissimilar genres, and he brings that connection to WORT listeners every week on Monday nights from 2-5 am. On his show Wild & Blue, Lomax — or Major Tom as he’s know on the air — proves that Funk and Jazz Fusion are twins separated at birth.
“It goes back to Miles Davis during the period of the late 60s and early 70s when he started playing an early style of fusion that jazz critics didn’t — and still don’t — appreciate,” Lomax says. “You can trace the roots of funk and fusion back to this same source.”
Miles Davis pioneered fusion and funk during the 70s when he collaborated with Joe Zawinul, Al Foster and John McLaughlin. Together they recorded a series of albums spanning the 1969 studio album In a Silent Way to the 1975 concert recording Agharta. During this time, Davis was experimenting with rock, funk, African rhythms and electronic music. This was the period that produced one of Davis’ most successful albums, Bitches Brew.
Lomax first started hearing the connection between the two genres when he was incarcerated in Wisconsin. While Lomax was in prison, inmates were allowed a library of twenty cassette tapes. The inmates started a massive circulating library of tapes that spanned almost every genre of music, and Lomax listened to all of it. It was then that Lomax heard the deep connection between Funk and Fusion. Due to this exposure to so much music and such a variety of it, he also developed an appreciation for many other genres.
Sybil Augustine, WORT’s music director, describes the range of Lomax’s show as spanning progressive rock, psychedelic rock, blaxploitation film soundtracks and deep blues. Lomax says of the best two shows he’s done — so far — one was centered on jam bands, and the other on progressive rock.
It was back in the 90s while he was still incarcerated that Lomax first hit the airwaves at WORT. He researched, wrote and called in reports on topics such as the legalization of marijuana, the disposal of spent nuclear fuel and prison reform, and these commentaries were aired on the Insurgent Radio Kiosk. “I’ve been a WORT listener since the 1970s,” Lomax said.
When he was released and moved to Madison, he continued listening to WORT and noticed that on some nights, the station played re-runs of popular programs. Lomax contacted the station and asked if they would be interested in some original programming during those times. He became an engineer for some of the mid-day talk programs, and launched Wild & Blue soon thereafter.
Lomax says it takes him anywhere from 12 to 20 hours a week to come up with the right programming for a single show. “Basically, I spend all week working on it. I draw from WORT’s music library, my own library and recordings I find in the Madison public library through the LinkCat service.”
All this hard work is for the love of the music he selects and his burning desire to share it with others. Tune in late Monday night to hear Major Tom go Wild & Blue, or listen to the show anytime on-demand through the audio archives at wortfm.org.