MICHAEL DOHERTY’S MUSIC LOG
by Michael Doherty
Brief Notes On New Jazz Releases
As more people become vaccinated and we continue our journey back to normalcy (whatever that might mean), there is a renewed optimism. Bands and artists are beginning to book tours for the late summer and autumn. Yes, live music is right around the corner. In the meantime, artists continue to release albums to help us get there. Here are some brief notes on a few new jazz releases you might be interested in checking out.
Troy Roberts & Tim Jago: “Best Buddies” – The pandemic and these crazy times have helped us appreciate certain things all the more, one of those things being friendship, which is precisely what Best Buddies, the new album from Troy Roberts and Tim Jago, celebrates. It features all original music written by saxophonist Troy Roberts and guitarist Tim Jago. Both are from Australia, both moved to the United States, and both happened to be back in Australia when the lockdown went into effect. And so this excellent album came about. Joining them are Karl Florisson on acoustic bass, and Ben Vanderwal on drums. The album kicks off with “Chythm Ranges,” a fast-paced, energetic number written by Tim Jago, based loosely on “I Got Rhythm.” And they’ve certainly got rhythm here. Ben Vanderwal’s work on drums is a delightful and wild pulse through the piece, while Troy and Tim trade leads, and at the end he delivers a cool drum solo. Then “Best Buddies,” the title track, begins in a mellower place, gently swinging, and you might very well find yourself adding finger snaps as you enjoy it. This one was written by Troy Roberts, and it features some really nice work by Karl Florisson on bass, including a great lead in the first half. “Zeena” is a short, soulful and interesting piece, the only track on this album composed by all four musicians. One of my favorite tracks is “A New Porpoise,” written by Tim Jago, which features a catchy groove and a wonderful guitar lead that is somehow simultaneously easygoing and hopping. And Troy keeps that vibe going on saxophone. Another of my favorites is “King Of Hearts,” which has a delicious vibe right from the moment Karl Florisson gets it started on bass. This one was written by Troy Roberts, who really lets loose on sax at moments, while Ben keeps things moving and bopping on drums. And the final track, “Overlook,” begins with these two best buddies in total sync, flying along for fifteen seconds or so before the bass and drums come in. It’s all about friendship, and this friendship sounds fantastic. This track really moves. This album is scheduled to be released on June 18, 2021.