Troy Roberts – Green Lights (ENG review)

Troy Roberts Music – Street Date May 10th 2024
Troy Roberts - Green Lights

I cannot stress this enough, in our line of work, we cannot know everyone, and it is all the more regrettable in this specific case where the excellent composer and saxophonist Troy Roberts manages to impress from the very first notes of his album. Not only because of the quality of the compositions and arrangements, but also because this artist has the gift of being, like some singers, a true performer, making his instrument the protagonist of this 10-chapter novel that is ‘Green Lights’. One takes real pleasure in following him on his adventures like a soundtrack to a Bogart film. Indeed, the album cover sets the tone: a nocturnal image, a bridge, towers, and Troy Roberts in black and white—a city jazz that borrows from tradition while perfectly fitting into the modern world. His name adorns several essential recordings, from the legendary Joey DeFrancesco to the iconic Van Morrison, through to the quintessential Jeff “Tain” Watts, and the indefatigable Orrin Evans Captain Black Big Band, the highly acclaimed Kurt Elling, the dazzling Veronica Swift, including many other jazz veterans as well as newcomers considered trendsetters of their generation.

Listening to this artist, one might think he is American, but that is not the case. While Troy Roberts currently resides in New York, he hails from Australia, and that probably shapes his approach to thinking about and writing music. Our colleagues at DownBeat wrote the following about him: Roberts is a loud and effusive player, eloquent but not busy. ‘Secret Rhymes’ has a bounce, and Roberts excels here as a leader, with an album beautifully arranged with just a hint more originality than what can legally be called straight-ahead.

An analysis I absolutely do not share. Troy Roberts embodies the very art of elegance and delicacy. More than a musician, he is a painter of sounds who flawlessly sketches the intricacies of his soul. One must simply listen to avoid falling into the analytical trap of DownBeat. As I mentioned earlier, with his saxophones, Troy Roberts is an actor in the noblest sense of the term. I went to listen to his previous albums, which were in the same vein, yet one had to discern this uncommon aspect for a saxophonist. However, there is a precedent, and not a minor one: Dexter Gordon.

‘Green Lights’ will not disappoint anyone; on the contrary, this album features not only Troy Roberts on saxophone but also the wonderful guitarist Paul Bollenback, the bassist John Patitucci, who needs no introduction, and the fantastic drummer Jimmy MacBride. Being able to listen to an album more than five times in a row while keeping the enjoyment intact is what happened to me because I love all the artistic propositions of this album. I love the love for the beauty of art that each member of the group carries within them. I adore the choice of acoustics for this album, and I also love the mixing of this CD, which managed to give the necessary brilliance to each instrument. It is very likely one of the greatest albums for which we have had the chance to write a review, an ‘essential’ CD as you can imagine, which you will be able to hear from May 6th on Bayou Blue Radio, ‘The Voice of Jazz’.”

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move and ABS magazine
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, April 5th 2024

Follow PARIS-MOVE on X


To buy this album