Finally, something that touches on the righteous eclecticism of the New York nu-jazz thing: homage to the forefathers and a pimp-strut towards the future. Josh Roseman, trombonist extraordinaire and general purveyor of groove, delivers an album of monstrous ambition and dreamy jazzscapes that traverses a multitude of destinations, assisted mightily by his severely armed associates. Josh Roseman Unit (JRU) Treats for the Nightwalker turns an exciting new page in the annals of progressive jazz flavors.

From the get-go, Treats is a schizophrenic affair, a roller coaster ride that begins and ends on the happily resurrected streets of New York cool with tinkling keys. A rolling ensemble sound ensues, melding horns and reeds with strings a la Creed Taylor; the borderline cheesy melodies set atop scorching polyrhythmic workouts run marathons before mellowing out into tribal beats and serene passages. "Sedate: Remix," "LDSN 2.0," "Are You There?" and the title track blend seamlessly into one another, riddling your ears along one psychotic walk around the neighborhood, or globe, depending on the listener's frame of reference.

The menu here is not traditional jazz, as sweeping strings and reeds wash over the relentless soundtrack, marrying the atmospherics of 70s jazz-rock with the tried-and true-grandeur of house anthems. Island dub riddims and ticks dance alongside crunk breakbeats, as if the band were sonically introducing Mad Professor to the Herbaliser. JBs workouts graduate into drum 'n' bass rollers, seamlessly augmented by the smooth trombone gliding above, steering melodies across the diverse terrain. Just when the frenetic action seems to be a bit forced, the band busts the proverbial nut and basks in the afterglow.

Roseman assembled a venerable crew of heavy hitters to manifest his nu-jazz destiny: fellow Groove Collective associate Peter Apfelbaum on the tenor sax and flute, Chris Potter on tenor as well, Jay Rodrigues on the baritone sax and flute, and vicious viola madman Mat Maneri, amongst a plethora of other similarly strong talents. Much of the material was recorded eighteen months ago, finally seeing the light of day. Even with the late release date, the crew and the game plan is clearly thinking way ahead of the game. However, the production values of the album do it a disservice. The monotony of sonic inflection robs it of the intensity and energy that it could create, one unfortunate downside to an otherwise gratifying listening experience.

Brian Getz
JamBase | World Wide
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[Published on: 11/19/03]

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