Roberts' plays deep, swooping sax mostly over tricky, pounding beats set up by Watts. The drummer pushes a sprightly version of "Take The 'A' Train along with relaxed hip hop beats before Roberts lays into it blowing with the cool assurance of Paul Gonsalves. The drummer really explodes on "Decoration" as Roberts dances over him on a high-pitched soprano sax. "Trams"' stop-start theme is laid down by bassist Robert Hurstsetting the tone for busy but colorful conversing by his three partners. A take on the "cool jazz" standby "Bernie's Tune" has Roberts playing the theme over a choppy, hip hop influenced rhythm before he and pianist Silvano Monasterios settle into hard-charging swinging. "Pickapoppy" is a deliberate and slower piece that builds from small figures to a sweeping climax feautring the luxurious sound of Roberts' tenor and Monasterios' surging piano while "Cotu Chi Chi Chi" sees the group tackle a circular dancing figure with Roberts swooping in hard over the tricky beats.
Some tunes have fewer ties to conventional jazz. "Rivera Mountain" is a hushed neo-classical piece Monasterios and Roberts play together in solemn fashion. On "Mr. Pinononnk" Roberts and Monasterios do angular creeping over a rhythm that varies between march and tango and the results come out as close to prog rock as jazz. After all that the slippery dancing of the closing "Boozy Bluesy" is very welcome. Roberts simply blows hard in soulful, wriggling fashion with Watts' knockabout drums urging him on and Monasterios charging full blast at the piano.
Troy Roberts puts rhythms together in a unique way with a searching intelligence that brings Wayne Shorter to mind. He's an intriguing new voice who makes complex music seem elemental.
Decoration; Trams; Rivera Mountain; Bernie’s Tune; Cotu Chi Chi, Chi; Take the ‘A’ Train; Pickapoppy; Mr. Pinononnk; Boozy Blues.
Troy Roberts: tenor, soprano saxophones; Silvano Monasterios: piano; Robert Hurst: acoustic bass; Jeff "Tain" Watts: drums.