Half Notes: Troy Roberts – Nu-Jive (2011)

Photo: Jillian Ciemitis

I probably say this too often, but here goes … this record is just too much fun! Saxophonist Troy Roberts knows how to lay down the funk and on Nu-Jive, the funk is relentless. From the David S. Ware-meets-Steely Dan opening salvo of “Chiver-town,” to the slippery “Shavon” (where electric bassist Eric England and keyboardist Silvano Monasterios really shine), the music carries along a certain playfulness and wit that makes your ear wonder just what surprise lurk after the next chorus. Things really heat up mid-recording on “Oscar and the Shoe Box.” With percussion added by Sammy Figueroa (congas, shaker) and Jose Gregorio-Hernandex (cajon, maracas), the rhythm section (let’s not forget drummer David Chiverton) displays its wide-ranging talents, from delicate slow-burn to the incendiary shadowing of Roberts’ passionate solo.

There are parts of Nu-Jive that can remind the ear of both Weather Report and the M-Base Collective. This is especially true of the closing “Mademfalselle,” which manages to be simultaneously romantic, atmospheric, and funky. As I said, just too much fun.

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‘Half Notes’ are quick-take thoughts on music from Something Else! Reviews, presented whenever the mood strikes us.

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski