Trombonist Josh Roseman keeps winning that "Talent Deserving Wider Recognition" poll by Downbeat Magazine (2000, '01, 02). Treats for the Nightwalker, his second recording as a leader, should knock him out of contention for that award. He should get a bunch of recognition for this set.
Treats for the Nightwalker is one of those uncategorizables: it's all over the place, with Roseman's sound drawing from seemingly everything he's heard. A member of the acclaimed Dave Holland Big Band, the trombonist has put together a sound that is orchestral in its scope, in no ordinary way. The sound of the Josh Roseman Unit exudes a turntablist's sensibiliy, funk grooves, M-Base tinges and more, stirred up with interludes of good old-fashioned straight ahead jazz.
Parallels: I find myself thinking of Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy, but where Bowie's group explored modern sounds with a classic organic instrumentation, Roseman brings electronics and clean grooves into the mix.
Roseman's trombone glows round and warm as he takes a short solo after an initial fanfare on the opener, "Sedate Remix." Fifteen musicians contribute, with Peter Apfelbaum's icy cold flute solo chilling things down over a wash of strings. A smooth groove, a meticulously mapped out cacophony. Another parallel: Miles Davis's work with Marcus Miller ' an underrated segment of the fusioneer's career. And of particular interest here (and we're still just talking about the opener) is a quartet of strings ' violinist Mark Feldman, violist Mat Maneri, cellists Dana Leong and Rufus Cappadocia ' that creates a pastel-streaked wash behind behind the wah-wahing guitars and trombone, the driving percussion, the Twilight Zone keyboard effects. A ten minute 21st century symphony.
The title tune includes the strings again, with Apfelbaum blowing a hot tenor this time out and the trombone/sax mix sounding as right as it gets. The atmosphere here feels dangerous, with a denseness of sound that makes me think of Phil Spector on a jazz kick.
A sprawling, many-faceted outing. It'll probably take a hundred spins to absorb it all. If it were a novel, you'd call it Dickensian (or better yet, Pynchon-esque) in its scope. This ambitious project succeeds in grand fashion.