New Constellations – Josh Roseman
Theres not much trombone these days (has there ever been?). Theres Fred Wesley of course, of James Brown and P-Funk fame. And a handful of great jazz trombonists from the old school, like Roswell Rudd and Julian Priester. Plus a few newer school, downtown dudes, like Curtis Hasselbring and Curtis Fowlkes.
But, in my opinion, none of these cats (or the ones I failed to mention, like Wycliffe Gordon and Steve Turre) can hang with what Josh Roseman is doing as a bandleader, and on the ‘bone. From his work with Zorn and Dave Douglas to funkier efforts with Charlie Hunter and Groove Collective, and so much more, Roseman is taking his instrument to new and varied places. And his most recent release, New Constellations, is a trip to Jamaica.
And Austria. Constellations, a dub-heavy tribute to the late trombonist Don Drummond (of the Skatalites), was recorded live over five nights at Joe Zawinuls Birdland in Vienna in 2005 and further developed at GoodandEvil NYC. The finished product is some soulful, dubbed-out proof that the trombone is alive and well in the hands of Josh Roseman.
Its possible, too, that his group is taking dub music somewhere fresh (its about time!). Their take on The Abyssinians Satta Massaganna, originally recorded in 1969, is done up deep and slow, and features Will Bernard on guitar. The future funk of Olsen Twins Subpoena is the same brand of nasty that filled out MeShell Ndegeocellos The Spirit Music Jamia, an album Roseman appeared on. I Wanna Be With You, by John Holt (Holt also wrote the immortal Tide is High), is summer day ska at its finest, only dirtier.
PS Speaking of Joe Zawinul, the visionary keyboardist, Weather Report founder and sideman to the stars (Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley, Dinah Washington) left for his final tour on the morning of September 11. He penned important jazz tunes like Mercy, Mercy, Mercy, In A Silent Way, and Birdland. He was 75. We miss you Joe.