As much fun as it was, Cherry, trombonist Josh Roseman’s first CD as a leader—released in 2002, but presumably recorded a few years earlier—amounted to a résumé. There was an endorsement from Roswell Rudd, a guest shot by Lester Bowie, and covers of Sun Ra, the Beatles, Marvin Gaye, Burt Bacharach, Led Zeppelin, and Nirvana (a riotous “Smells Like Teen Spirit” that puts the Bad Plus to shame). It all seemed calculated to let you know where Roseman was coming from. He was an eclectic in a lineage of great singing horns.
On the new Treats for the Nightwalker, Roseman—a valuable sideman with Dave Holland and Don Byron, among others—tries with mixed results to get down to business and establish himself as a composer and bandleader. UFO grooves, jagged guitars, an edgy string quartet—the tunes move along in a demented blur, suffering a bit from information overload. Then along comes “Long Day, Long Night,” and quicker than you can say Don Drummond, Roseman uncorks a fat and brassy solo over a rock-steady beat, and you sense his vast potential. Of necessity, he makes do with fewer instruments in clubs, where the problem becomes solos that go on far too long for his grooves to sustain themselves. But it’s worth being there because sooner or later he’s going to find the right balance.
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