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Troy Roberts: Green Lights

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Troy Roberts: Green Lights
There is an abundance of listenable music on Green Lights, the album from New York-based tenor saxophonist Troy Roberts—his sixteenth as leader in sixteen years. Clearly, he must be doing something right.

That "something" includes playing graceful and eloquent tenor, mustering admirable sidemen for this quartet date, and focusing on largely agreeable music (Roberts wrote all of the album's ten generally likable songs). The sidemen in question are guitarist Paul Bollenback, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Jimmy Macbride. No guest artists, simply Roberts and rhythm, which is all that is needed to carry the day.

As leader and composer, much of the album's allure rests on Roberts' shoulders. While there is no questioning his competence at either task, neither is there sufficient cause—based on what is presented here—to raise him above a crowded field of contemporaries who have similar goals in mind. Comparisons aside, Roberts is simply quite good at what he does—and that should be good enough to please most listeners.

The leader's comrades are exceptionally talented and responsive, lending the quartet a tight and synchronous vibe. Paticucci is metronomic, as always, while MacBride blends power and sensitivity to get the job done. Bollenback, meanwhile, coaxes several esoteric sounds from his guitar, none of which is unseemly or out of place. And to ice the cake, each of them is an accomplished soloist.

Roberts' themes are for the most part soft-flowing and sober, with an emphasis on burnished and tasteful sound. No flag-wavers here, with the possible exceptions of "Solar Panels" and "Stretch Armstrong," which turn up the heat while allowing Roberts and the others to flex their impressive chops. Another outlier is the chimerical "Harry Brown," on which the group veers off the beaten path for a few moments of more exploratory blowing before returning safely home. After "Stretch," the session ends with thirty seconds of light-hearted "Soundcheckin.'"

In sum, Green Lights is another very good recording by the talented Troy Roberts and his dexterous teammates, and well worth one's time.

Track Listing

Green Lights; The Question; By Your Side; Solar Panels; Harry Brown; Jive Dumpling; Up to No Good; The Scotsman’s Ballad; Stretch Armstrong; Soundcheckin’.

Personnel

Album information

Title: Green Lights | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Self Produced


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