is a two-time Grammy nominee who is becoming one of the most broadly recorded saxophonists of his time. Roberts' robust saxophone playing adorns several essential recordings ranging from the legendary Joey DeFrancesco
to the iconic Van Morrison
to the indispensable Jeff 'Tain' Watts to the assiduous Orrin Evans and the Captain Black Big Band, including abundant newcomers. As a leader, Roberts has fourteen albums in his discography, including his latest recording, NU-JIVE: Nations United
, which features long-time friends who in 2009 formed the band he calls NU-JIVE. The band's fourth release focuses on the sounds representing the countries members originate from, including the United States, Australia, Venezuela, India, the United Kingdom, France, Ireland, and Portugal. Specifically, it draws from the musical cultures of Indian classical music, West African polyrhythms, 20th century classical music, Venezuelan Merengue, Gospel, Reggae, Jazz, Soul, Funk, and R&B. NU-JIVE: Nations United
speaks to the 'universality' of musica reflection of the fact that the members came from all corners of the globe and bonded through the language of music.
"Funkafarian" is the opening selection which develops a deep groove. The melody is wonderfully performed and shows Roberts' crafty compositional skills. The bridge switches to a reggae feel for added interest and a change in feel. Roberts' tone on the tenor saxophone is big, warm, and filled with joy. His rhythmic command during his solo is outstanding as his melodic ideas jump with articulated precision. Eric England
's bass and David Chiverton
's drums are encouraging to the soloist and deep with feeling. Tim Jago
's guitar adds percussive color and harmonic colors. Silvano Monasterios
' keyboard solo is soulful and has imaginative harmonic colors. Roberts is adept at playing and composing in many styles that the jazz genre offers, and his approach is imbued with combustion and dexterity.
"Sobrino" is a Roberts composition for bassist England as the song title is a nickname affectionately given to the bassist by some of the music scene's older members. Suffused with synth swells and a clever 5/4 time signature, England takes the lead with his bass running through a Moog-esque pedalboard for a rich effect. The ensemble are patient in their development of the groove and work together to create an expressive and brilliant ambiance.
Roberts abounds with ideas. The diversity of his music speaks to the brimming of those ideals in musical taste. His compositions speak to his creativity and, in the hands of his band of compadres, NU-JIVE, the music is permeated with plenty of modernity and groove-based delectable treats.
Funkafarian; Tribes & Tribulations; Mind Melder; Linger; Big Night In; Sobrino; Big Daddy Ghetto-Rig; Five Nations;
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