Title - Nations United
Artist - Troy Robertsí Nu-Jive
For those not in the know, two-time Grammy nominee, saxophonist Troy Roberts is becoming one of the most widely recorded saxophonist of his time.
As a go-to first call saxophonist, his name adorns essential recordings ranging from the legendary Joey DeFrancesco to the iconic Van Morrison to the quintessential Jeff Tain watts, to the tireless Orrin Evans Captain Black Big Band, including newcomers, considered tastemakers of their generation.
Roberts himself has been quite a prolific leader, racking up fourteen albums to his discography, including his latest recording, Nations United (out Jume 10th via Toy Robot Music) which features a band of brothers formed in 2009 he calls Nu-Jive.
On the bands fourth release, the albumís spirit collectively represents the countries each member hails from - the United States, Australia, Venezuela, India, England, France, Ireland, and Portugal, but more specifically, draws from musical cultures of Indian Classical music, West African polyrhythms, 20th Century Classic music, Venezuelan Merengue, Gospel, Reggae, Jazz, Soul, Funk and R&B.
2. Tribes & Tribulations
3. Mind Melder
5. Big Night In
7. Big Daddy Ghetto-Rig
8. Five Nations
This truly majestical, well crafted, expertly honed new album opens on the tremendously funky rhythms of Funkafarian and the sweepingly exuberant, layered textures of Tribes & Tribulations and backs those up seamlessly with the James Brown-esque, imbed groove melodies found within Mind Melder (initially commissioned by the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts), the acknowledge improvised coda from one of their other compositions, the multi-instrumental Linger and then comes their collective 10 minute acknowledgement of our Covid era, the highly melodic Big Night In.
Up next is one of my own personal favorites, the slow-jam Sobrino (which means Nephew in Spanish and which is also used as an affectionate nickname bestowed upon bassist Eric England) which is itself followed by the relatively short, yet magnificently sweet interlude Big Daddy Ghetto-Rig (dedicated to the bandís long-standing recording engineer, Dana Salminen), the peaceful interplay of Five Nations (which relates to a time before 1722 that formed an indigenous confederacy in northeast North America), the album rounding out all too soon on the languid beauty of Hypnagogia (a common fleeting perceptual experience that occurs during the transition from wakefulness to sleep), closing on the trance-like reverie of Dreamstation.
In closing, Nations United speaks to the universality of music - a reflection on the fact that each of the members came from all corners of the globe and bonded through the language of music.
TROY ROBERTS - tenor saxophone
TIM JAGO - guitar
SILVANO MONASTERIOS - piano & keyboards
ERIC ENGLAND - electric bass
DAVID CHIVERTON - drums
Troy Roberts - Nu-Jive: Nations United (2022) [Video Teaser]
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