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Title - Best Buddies
Artist - Troy Roberts & Tim Jago

For those unaware, Best Buddies is precisely what the name portrays a group of like-minded friends getting together to create spontaneous sounds in the straight-ahead jazz/post-bop tradition.

Each of these busy musicians happened to be in the same place simultaneously in their homeland during a COVID lockdown.

This rare moment very naturally progressed toward pressing a record on July 22 & 23, 2020, capturing an excellent collaboration showcasing intensity, humor, fire, and finesse amongst four best buddies.

This albums theme is contrafacts (a new melody composed over the existing harmonic structure of various well-known jazz standards), with an underlying aesthetic very much in the post-bop tradition.

1. CHYTHM RANGES (T. Jago) (5:19)
2. BEST BUDDIES (T. Roberts) (9:11)
3. EVIL EYE (T. Roberts) (9:10)
4. ZEENA (T. Jago, T. Roberts, B. Vanderwal, K. Florisson) (1:28)
5. A NEW PORPOISE (T. Jago) (7:01)
6. PHO TWENNY (T. Roberts) (8:05)
7. KING OF HEARTS (T. Roberts) (7:43)
8. HALFWAY HOUSE IN C MAJOR (T. Roberts) (3:24)
9. OVERLOOK (T. Jago) (6:23)

Opening on the gently frenetic CHYTHM RANGES (and based on George Gershwins I Got Rhythm) and the more relaxed title track BEST BUDDIES (which is based on Benny Golsons Stablemates), they are backed by the playfully perky EVIL EYE (based on Matt Dennis popular song from 1946, Angel Eyes), the short, but oh-so sweet ZEENA (itself based on a small portion of Dizzy Gillespies A Night In Tunisia), and then we get the foot-tapper A NEW PORPOISE (based on Bronislaw Kapers On Green Dolphin Street) and a magnificent ballad treatment comes to the fore on PHO TWENNY (which is itself a treatment over Gene de Pauls jazz standard, Ill Remember April.

Next up is the Coltrane-esque waltz found within my own personal favorite here, KING OF HEARTS (where the melodies harmonic structure is centered on Cole Porters classic My Heart Belongs To Daddy) which is followed by the scattish HALFWAY HOUSE IN C MAJOR (based on Cole Porters What Is This Thing Called Love), with the album coming to an all-too-soon close on the all-out jam fest of yet another stand out track, OVERLOOK (which is itself based on Harold Arlens classic My Shining Hour).

Friends are some of the most important bonds in our human journey. Both born and raised in Australia, Troy Roberts, and Tim Jago are certainly proof of this notion.

The two have a kinship that also lends itself to their professional musician career pursuits, as both initially re-located to The US to undertake graduate studies at The University of Miami Frost School of Music.

Roberts is a flourishing leader with twelve chart-topping albums to his name, two GRAMMY-Nominations, and was a semi-finalist in the 2008 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition.

A long-time New York resident, he is also an in-demand sideman, performing around Europe and the US extensively with artists such as Joey DeFrancesco, Aretha Franklin, James Morrison, Jeff Tain Watts, Van Morrison, Christian McBride, Sammy Figueroa, Billy Hart, Orrin Evans, and Kurt Elling to name a few.

Roberts has imparted his knowledge as a professor on faculty at the FROST School of Music and The New School, whilst maintaining a busy performance and recording schedule around the globe.

Jago also has performed and recorded with a host of world-class musicians, including Terence Blanchard, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Chick Corea, Gloria Estefan, Wycliffe Gordon, Dave Liebman, Bobby McFerrin, Steve Miller, and Arturo Sandoval, to name a few.

A semi-finalist in the inaugural Wes Montgomery International Jazz Guitar Competition, he has three leader releases with his trio to his name The Grid (2010), Wear More Headbands (2013), and The Grid III (featuring four) (2015), and is also a member of Troy Roberts Nu-Jive group appearing on Nu-Jive 5 (2013), and Nu-Jive Perspective (2018).

Having served on faculty as a professor at The FROST School of Music and The West Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Jago also balances a busy sideman performance schedule.

Two renowned fellow Australians join Roberts and Jago. Ben Vanderwal is one of the most in-demand jazz drummers in Australia. A recipient of the WAM Best Jazz Artist award (2015), Ben has worked with many jazz icons such as John Scofield, Charlie Haden, Joe Lovano, Madeleine Peyroux, Gilad Hekselman, Chris Potter, Kate Ceberano, Walter Smith III, Will Vinson, Mark Murphy, Joel Frahm, Ernie Watts and more.

Rounding out this adroit ensemble is bassist Karl Florisson, who has shared the stage with international artists such as Aaron Goldberg, Ben Monder, George Garzone, Tim Minchin, and James Morrison.

He has released three albums with long-time collaborators Harry Mitchell and Ben Vanderwal as Trio Trio. Florisson currently serves on faculty at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts.

Amazon Digital Purchase Link