Recorded in Vienna at Joe Zawinul's Birdland, trombonist Josh Roseman pays tribute to the legendary Skatalites' trombonist Don Drummond on New Constellations, a scorching live set that bustles with reggae, dub and electro-funk. The performance tapes were remixed in GoodandEvil's Brooklyn studio, endowing the album with additional layers of sonic detail that blur the line between live performance and studio manipulation.
Surpassing orthodox reinterpretations by embracing the polyphony of free jazz and the experimental studio remixing of dub, Roseman's tribute is innovative, yet respectful. Blending dub traditions like echo, reverb and split-channel processing with a live concert recording results in a surreal psychedelic sound world where nothing is quite as it seems.
Regular sideman gigs with creative jazz stalwarts like Joey Baron, Steve Coleman, Dave Douglas and Charlie Hunter, along with memberships in cross-over ensembles like Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy, Groove Collective and Brooklyn Funk Essentials, demonstrate Roseman's stylistic diversity. His solo debut, Cherry (Knitting Factory, 2001) documented his pop smarts with ingenious covers of tunes by Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Nirvana.
Although thematically focused on Drummond's work, the majority of the album consists of Roseman's originals. "Thoroughfare" and "Confucious," are the only covers of Drummond's tunes, both delivered with tangible passion and driving dance floor rhythms. The beats are deep and throbbing, full of pulsating grooves, layered samples and interweaving electronic textures throughout.
Roseman, saxophonist Peter Apfelbaum and upcoming trumpet star Ambrose Akinmusire make a stirring front-line, supported by the capable rhythm section of bassist Jonathan Maron, keyboardist Barney McAll, (both from Groove Collective) and drummer Justin Brown.
"Greasy Feets Music" churns with kinetic fervor as Apfelbaum's stratospheric tenor solo breaks the sound barrier, while the fractious "Olsen Twins Subpoena" alternates eerie atmospherics with propulsive, post-rock sanguinity. "Theme Constellations" seamlessly transforms from driving melodic reggae into spacey dub, with The Beatles' "I Should Have Known Better" riding a languorous rhythm adorned by kaleidoscopic variations.
Delivered with an equal mix of traditional conviction and innovative futurism, New Constellations is a riotous live recording, bold studio amalgamation and respectful paean to a master, all in one.
Personnel: Josh Roseman: trombone, laptop; Peter Apfelbaum: tenor saxophone, organ; Ambrose Akinmusire: trumpet; Marvin Sewell: guitar; Barney McAll: piano, keyboards, samples, live dub treatments; Jonathan Maron: bass; Justin Brown: drums; Will Bernard: guitar (1); Natalie Cressman: background vocals (1); Jeff Cressman: background vocals (1).