West Australia saxophonist and composer Troy Roberts is currently defining a clear catalogue of creative and forward reaching jazz. Currently based in the USA, Roberts has received numerous awards including: The Bob Wylie Jazz Scholarship, The James Morrison Jazz Scholarship, 3 consecutive DownBeat Jazz Soloist Awards, and two consecutive West Australian Music Industry Awards. Roberts was the only Australian finalist in the 2008 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition and also received his first Grammy Nomination medal for his performance on Sammy Figueroa’s 2nd record, The Magician. More recently, Roberts has been on faculty at The University of Miami for the past 4 years and internationally released his 5th record as a leader, Nu-Jive 5 (2013).
The music from Troy Roberts’ CD, Nu-Jive 5 is an eclectic mixture of soul, R&B, electronica, gospel, and jazz – held together by the group’s great sense of listening to one another and their understanding of Jazz etiquette. The CD is a ten-track disc of original music by Roberts. The quintet easily navigate their way through the challenging pieces such as: “Convertible Burt,” "One Day Wonder," "Mono Stereos" while the complexities are masterfully balanced by the accessible vamps of "Ghetto-Rig Master" and "Master Ghetto-Rig." Guitarist Tim Jago and keyboardist Silvano Monasterios contribute the chordal colors in a flawless symbiotic relationship that never “muddies” the harmonic waters. Next to Roberts exciting and robust saxophone playing, the electric bass playing of Eric England is a highlight throughout the project. England and drummer David Chiverton never let the groove leave and keep the ensemble full of forward motion.
Roberts is stunning soloists with considerable technique, inspiring the listener with natural phrasing with a big rounded tone, which is never clichéd. Fans of Chris Potter will be very much at home in this CDs soundwaves. However, don’t think for a moment the Roberts does not have his own vocabulary; it pulls straight from the lineage of Coltrane, Young and Rollins but with a fresh approach that is all Roberts.
H. Allen Williams
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