"A laidback charmer marked by the season's juiciest grooves." - Las Vegas City Weekly
"Absolutely addictive. It's hard for me to comprehend that a 'music lover' (however that might be defined) wouldn't like this. Roseman and his band have set forth a mighty album. Let the ideas keep flowing. " -Aiding and Abetting Magazine
"The more we spin this one...the better it sounds... (Rating: 5)" -Baby Sue Magazine
"He draws from the past to probe the future." -George Varga, San Diego Tribune
Josh Roseman has recorded and toured with the creme de la creme of progressive modern jazz: Dave Holland, Dave Douglas, Steve Coleman and Don Byron, to name but a few. Yet his upcoming New Constellations draws major inspiration from one of the founding fathers of ska, the visionary late trombonist Don Drummond, and is deeply rooted in early 1960s Kingston, Jamaica. Roseman (whose mother is Jamaican), began conceptualizing the New Constellations band after touring and recording with ska pioneers Tommy McCook, Roland Alphonso and the Skatalites, requiring a total immersion in the trombone legacy of maestro Drummond.
Roseman reflects, "When we played Jamaica, you could hear forty-year old classic Drummond tracks blasting across the countryside on any night of the week. You got a clear sense of what this music meant for the people.
Drummond is a Jamaican folk icon, comparable to few trombonists anywhere else. His open, eccentric phrasing, anthematic melodies and intuitive approach resonated with Roseman. He explains: "Don transcends the instrument, comparable to Tommy Dorsey, JJ Johnson, Jack Teagarden, Fred Wesley, Barry Rogers here in the US. Tapping into his sound has given me another connection to my roots and has opened up another channel into the horn." New Constellations, however, is no retro recreation project. Roseman's arrangements and the stellar players of the CONSTELLATIONS reinterpret Drummond's works and push them into open territory, employing classic dub, modern electronica and the full complement of modern jazz methods along the way. This music breaks new ground for a live album and reflects a subversive creativity both onstage and in the studio.
The ska program is further balanced by Roseman's ambitious originals, which draw from his vast experierience with the finest composers and conceptualists in jazz today. The CONSTELLATIONS' front line unites Roseman with celebrated multi- instrumentalist Peter Apfelbaum and young trumpet master Ambrose Akinmusire (Herbie Hancock, Vijay Iyer). These three horns bring big sounds and a fresh and committed viewpoint to the material, making the band sound startlingly expansive. The rhythm team includes Jonathan Maron (bass) and Barney McAll (keys,) an alliance that began with Roseman with NY funk/acidjazz pioneers the Groove Collective, continuing thoughout Europe and the US with Roseman's future-funk ensemble, the JRU. They are equally comfortable providing muscle in sweaty dance clubs and creating intricate electronica tapestries on the concert stage. McAll has a delicate touch on acoustic piano, and his arsenal also includes tape-delayed melodica, amplified music boxes, a wide-ranging lo-fi sample library and whatever else that may be on hand. Justin Brown is a young drum master in NYC, one of the freshest, most audacious new voices around. A true next-generation player, he's at the center of the CONSTELLATIONS' continually-evolving group sound.
Roseman's current projects continue expanding the adventurous territory staked out by his first two CDs. Roseman's debut as a leader, Cherry (2001), was a study in interlocking opposites, ingeniously finding common ground between American Top 40 pop culture and the avant-garde. Inspired by Roseman's mentor, the late Lester Bowie, who played on the recording, Cherry funks the Beatles, Bacharach and Nirvana and rides Sun Ra to the outer cosmos. Next came Treats for the Nightwalker (2005), on which Roseman continued his extended adventure along the frontiers of hip hop and jazz fusion with a sprawling ensemble. With the release of New Constellations, Roseman is poised to gain an even wider audience, to earn and redeem more of that hard-earned coin of listener trust and respect. Whatever the elements Roseman melts into his pot, he works on the highest level of skill and creativity. There are plenty of surprises and nary an unmusical moment.