Troy Roberts Brings Nu-Jive to New York

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Troy Roberts is a powerhouse of a musician. Since flocking up to New York City one year ago, the saxophonist has worked steadily with some of the city’s top players and ensembles (Linda Oh, Ari Hoenig, and Orin Evans’s Captain Black Big Band). But this month, he’s celebrating his own music, his own project, Nu-Jive. On the wake of his 5th release as a leader, Nu-Jive 5, Troy Roberts reaffirms his place as an authority in the electrifying, sophisticated groove jazz aesthetic. The band stretches out with ease, precision and elasticity while executing dangerously funky charts.

Celebrate Nu-Jive 5 with the band on May 15, 2013 at The Metropolitan Room; order tickets here by Friday the 10th and get a free CD with entry.

Troy Roberts took the big migration from his native Perth, Australia to Miami, Florida in 2005 to pursue his M.M. at University of Miami’s prestigious Frost School of Music. It wasn’t long before the saxophonist was working with some of Miami’s most talented artists including trumpeter Jean Caze (who appeared in this article on Jesse Fischer) and Sammy Figueroa, with whom he snagged a Grammy nomination.

Troy Roberts has a gift for crafting complexities interwoven in subtleties. As soloists, Roberts’s (band) mates all have a unique but unanimously seamless way of developing ideas in motion, while never losing sight of the momentous groove. Nu-Jive presents music that is both streamline and balls-to-the-wall, with many improvisations interweaving rehamonizations and avoiding many of the repetitive patterns and clichés so commonly thrown out in “fusion” or “groove” jazz.

For those familiar with the Nu-Jive concept, this is nothing new. But in addition to raising their own bar, this collection of tunes represents the band’s movement into an arena toying with soundscapes in post-production courtesy of Mauricio Quiros. Tracks like “Convertible Burt” bring out a nod to acoustic/electric drum and bass inspired jazz like Joshua Redman’s take on “Lonely Woman.”

As a saxophonist, it’s easy to hear Troy Roberts’s influences on the horn. Soulful, versatile players across the decades, from Stanley Turrentine to Michael Brecker, come out during his extended but never long-winded improvisations. And although Nu-Jive implements “modern” harmonic and rhythmic concepts, one can hear the band’s intent on executing memorable solos that never stray too far from the blues. That being said, Nu-Jive 5 is futuristic. “Casaenglewood” and “Night on the Town” throw down a gauntlet of head-bumps, and could easily serve as a montage for any late night drive on South Beach. The reoccurring mysterious “Ghetto-Rig” theme is a personal favorite, along with the epic album closer entitled “Stoner,” featured at the end of the video above.

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(L to R) Nu-Jive is: Eric England, bass; Tim Jago, guitar; Troy Roberts, sax; David Chiverton, drums; Silvano Monasterios, keys.

NYC is lucky to have Troy Roberts around and his project dropping in to grace us with groove. Dig this record and support the hit on May 15.

A note from the editor: Hardbop has been on a hiatus since “All Aboard the Joy Ride,” published in February. The blog will be back at it this spring/summer with a array of posts, such as a feature on Charles Burchell (drummer/producer/composer from NOLA, currently based in Boston), and a revisit to the 2nd annual Center City Jazz Festival in Philadelphia, PA which is going down this weekend. Last year, Hardbop profiled three key players in Philly scene and the festival: Ernest Stuart, Victor North, and Wade Dean. Dig. Thanks for your readership.
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