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Published: 2003/12/29
by Glenn Alexander

Treats For The Nightwalker – Josh Roseman Unit

Enja / Justin Time 3309-2

The hybridization of once formerly disparate sounds and musical approaches

within the jazz idiom is the source of more discovery and exploration than

any musical style of the 20th century. From finding that the high-hat

and the ride symbol are suitable methods to lay down groove, to Charlie
Parker's realization that soloists can free themselves from the

constraints of a song's particular melody by playing on top of the song's

basic chordal structure, there have been countless contributions of jazz.
To presume

that jazz is done finding new methods of expression, or that the ability of

fusion to continue bridging gaps is over, would be a falsehood. We are

continually opening doors, both small and large, through the dedication of

jazz musicians not willing to bind themselves to formulas, but instead bind

themselves to the unknown.

Treats for the Nightwalker is among the most ambitious

non-traditional jazz-based releases of the year. Josh Roseman has brought

together a stellar ensemble of musicians who, with their unwavering

dedication, all seem to be striving for the same kind of satisfaction

through their pursuits. It is undoubtedly an album made within the

framework of immense risk and joy, and the result is one that propels the

listener into a trance that is altogether unworldly, yet somehow grounding

at the same time.

From the opening invocation made by a soulfully-played organ, it is evident

that this album is out to recharge something in us. The soul-jazz

inflections of "Sedate Remix" kick the album into gear with the

introduction of a kaleidoscopic flurry of horn notes intermingling with

mathematic precision, followed by a more groove-based beat that makes up

the heart of the song. The title track, which is preceded and followed by

the jazz-funk explorations of "LDSN 2.0" and "Are You There"

(respectively) is a slow, yet heavily pulsating rhythmic piece with a dark

underbelly. The drums alone seem capable of shaking mountains to their

core, delivered with incredible force by drummer Billy Kilson, who plays on

half the album. One element consistent on this album, and which is clearly

evident from the first few songs, is the exploration of melody and the

careful yet fearless implementation of beautiful and progressive

orchestration over an often complex, yet always danceable, groove. This is

where Roseman and his compatriots shine the most; when they commit

themselves to the orchestration and the freedom of the songs with equaled

intensity, thus leaving no holes uncovered and no grooves unearthed.

"Meera," among the longest tracks on the album, is the most forceful

song of the bunch, if only for the resiliency of the groove that the drums

and bass lay down. While the rhythm section lays down the substrate for the

other instruments to grow off of, the horns, winds, and guitar explore over

the beat with amazing excitement and fervor, only relying on orchestrated

melody on a couple occasions. As the song drifts and traverses through

different movements, it carries its weight without a single slouch.

"Meera" illustrates a real commitment from the Josh Roseman Unit to

both chaos and solidity, signifying the elasticity of this ensemble's


Those not impressed by groove alone might be prone to consider this album to

be of a fractious nature, that the seemingly dissonant genres melding

together are just getting in the way of something more pure. But, that

would discount the multitudinous layers of soul and style evident on every

piece of this release. It is fiercely omnipresent from start to finish, but

never over-stimulates one's senses; instead it grounds the senses in a

cacophony of grooves, beats, melodies, and atmosphere that serve as a

platform for spiritual sustenance. There is a multitude of moods present on

this album, from the interplanetary environment of "Prospect" to the

undeniably funky and ambitious beats of "Meera," the album lays claim to

a various sources of inspiration. Throughout, it is indelibly marked by

furious yet elegant ambition, and that alone serves as evidence of something

worth listening to.

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