Jazz Trail weighs in on Troy Roberts Nu-Jive Perspective

Troy Roberts – Nu Jive Perspective

Label: Inner Circle Music, 2018

Personnel – Troy Roberts: saxophone; Tim Jago: guitar; Silvano Monasterios: keys; Eric England: bass; Dave Chiverton: drums.

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New York-based Australian saxophonist Troy Roberts, a two-time Grammy-nominated artist/composer, releases a rhythmically provocative album, his eighth as a leader, in the company of an adventurous quartet: guitarist Tim Jago, keyboardist Silvano Monasterios, bassist Eric England, and drummer Dave Chiverton.

The opening track of Nu-Jive Perspective, “Fame & Four Tune”, is an amalgam of Steve Coleman’s M-base and Michael Brecker’s crossover jazz. With Roberts expelling fierce popping sounds from his tenor, the tune’s passages oscillate between ecstatic turbulence and hip composure.

Abiding by a 6/8 meter, “Slideshow” incorporates an immersive sax solo over a funky strut. Mordant wha-wha bass thumps and organ flare-ups are also part of the show. Rippled wha-wha effects also mark the short “Phish HQ”, whose conglomeration of soul, jazz, and funk vibes recalls Jamiroquai’s style.

The bass pumps 5/4 grooves with vigor on the emphatically rhythmic “Table For Five” and “Jack The Sipper”. With the rhythm team playing in the pocket, the latter piece thrives with remarkable improvisations by Roberts and Jago, two exciting soloists. The soulful, explorative side of the guitarist is ruling on “Adamant Eve”, an R&B song, slowly developed with deep melodicism and a hip-hop beat; as well as on the shifting “Through The Eyes of Psychoville”, whose vertiginous rhythm takes us to a psychedelic neo-funk realm intercalated with moments of pure jazz.

The lullaby-ish melody introduced by Monasterios on “Professor Ghetto-Rig” is posteriorly overlapped by the cool funk that slinks its way through the groove. Roberts also maintains a close relationship with melody on “Avni Lane” and the more contemplative “Belle”, whose pure laconic voice diverges from the joy imparted by the gospel-infused “Veepea-Are”.

Nu-Jive Perspective is a kaleidoscopic and groove-oriented endeavor that showcases Roberts’ passionate musicality. The way he traverses styles feels all at once genuine, accessible, and daring.

 Grade B+

Grade B+

Favorite Tracks:
04 – Jack The Sipper ► 06 – Avni Lane ► 08 – Through The Eyes of Psychoville

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