When did you last revel in the glory of a trombone-led jazz band that plays rock & roll? Here’s one that’ll bring a smile to your face. Josh Roseman has the quirky charisma necessary to turn the often sedate trombone into a leading instrument, and his band’s first album showcases his skill and his rather bent sense of humor. Full of covers (and a few originals), Cherry is a cheery journey through funk, soul, jazz, and rock. The band’s off-tempo take on Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” is worth a listen, as is their Morphine-like rendition of Nirvana’s “Smell’s Like Teen Spirit.” But these tunes feel like tossed-off jokes meant to attract attention and they get tiresome quickly. The unit’s version of Burt Bacharach’s “Land of Make Believe,” on the other hand, is poignant and sticky sweet in all the good ways. Roseman also throws in some Sun Ra, Marvin Gaye, the Beatles, and other tunes to cover all his influences. And while it’s certainly fun to hear his vision of each of those, Roseman doesn’t give himself enough credit for his own compositional skill. His three original works shine more than the covers. His slow, soulful melody on “Extra Virgin” is the most beautiful song on the album. In his own work, you hear elements of the artists he covers — Sun Ra’s experimentation, Bacharach’s hooks, and Gaye’s soul — but in a unique way. He especially favors his Sun Ra side on the march-like “Trousertrout,” which takes a couple of minutes to get to the hook, but it’s fun when it arrives.
Josh Roseman Unit: Cherry