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Josh Roseman Unit: Treats for the Nightwalker

Dan McClenaghan By

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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.

Visit Josh Roseman at www.joshroseman.com

Track Listing: Organ Invocation; Sedate Remix. LDSN; Treats for teh Nightwalker; Are You There?; Long Day; Short Night; Meera; Prospect; Regression; Piano Outro.

Personnel: Josh Roseman: trombone; Peter Apfelbaum: tenor sax, flute, organ; Barney McCall: piano, keyboards, dub tactics; Ben Monder: guitar; Jon Maron: bass; Billy Kilson: drums; Special guests: Russell Gunn: trumpet, flugelhorn; Myron Walden: alto, flute; Chris Potter: saxophone; Jay Rodrigues: baritone, flute; Peck Allmond: trumpet, flute; Liberty Ellman: guitar; Adam Rogers: guitar; Patrice Blanchard: bass; J.T. Lewis: drums; Diego Voglino: drums; Ben Perosky: percussion; Daniel Moreno: percussion; Mark Feldman: violin; Mat Maneri: viola; Dan Leong: cello; Rufus Cappadocia: cello; Josh Camp: accordion.

Title: Treats for the Nightwalker | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Enja Records

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