NYC Jazz Record reviews TROY ROBERTS, NU-JIVE:  NATIONS UNITED

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NYC Jazz Record

by Dan Bilawsky

TROY ROBERTS, NU-JIVE:  NATIONS UNITED

This fourth release from Troy Roberts’ slick and sophisticated Nu-Jive is a global affair embracing a wide range of musical languages and styles. Reflecting the diverse backgrounds of the band’s membership, with origins spanning a number of countries and continents, this work also speaks to firm belief in broad-minded expression beyond those personal and geographic anchors. With well over a decade of experience in action at this point, Nu-Jive remains as imaginative as ever while exploring this particular course. Opening with “Funkafarian”, this outfit appends soulful grooves to reggae riffing and a fired-up neogospel outro. The first of ten tasty Roberts originals, it proves powerful in its marriage of multiple dimensions. Followup number “Tribes & Tribulations”, drawing attention to the plights surrounding recognition for Aboriginal and African American tribes in modern times, features impassioned blowing and strong signs of life from all corners of the quintet. “Mind Melder” leans on an idea from Star Trek and conceptual strength(s) drawn from the music of Africa, Cuba, India and elsewhere. “Linger”, built on a vamp from Roberts’ “Hightail”, stirs circular energy. And “Big Night In”, which parties on its own terms, recognizes pandemic nightlife and offers a definite detour with a bridge built around Venezuelan merengue. Roberts, guitarist Tim Jago, pianist/keyboard player Silvano Monasterios, bassist Eric England and drummer David Chiverton have developed their own collective sound—literally and figuratively electric, both thoughtful and hard-hitting with turn-on-a-dime capabilities and plenty of room for interplay and solo space—and they put it to good use on the first half of the program and what follows. That latter run includes “Sobrino”, a slow-burner featuring England; “Big Daddy Ghetto-Rig”, a cyclical joint and the latest in a series of dedicatory tracks nodding to Dana Salminen, the band’s recording engineer; “Five Nations”, an inviting number respecting the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca, which, together, once comprised the Iroquois Confederacy; and saxophone-and-drums stage-setter “Hypnagogia” with tension-filled closer “Dreamstation”, which relishes connection, the art of transition and opportunities to overlay different thoughts. From album to album and track to track, it remains clear that Nu-Jive never runs out of things to say

Kari Gaffney

Kari Gaffney

Since 1988 Kari-On Productions has helped artists get an even footing in the industry through jazz promotion in the genres of Jazz, World & Latin Jazz through Jazz Radio and Publicity. Why do we do both, because they compliment each other, and we care about fiscal longevity for the artist.

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