Down Beat (p.73) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Roseman's trombone and pen tie it all together....The music enters a nice realm of unpredictability..."
Considering trombonist Josh Roseman's wildly eclectic jazz and groove résumé (Dave Holland, Dave Douglas, Steve Coleman, Don Byron, Charlie Hunter, Groove Collective), it's not surprising that his burgeoning solo career has been full of unexpected twists and turns that define free jazz for the modern age. Roseman's 2001 debut, Cherry, attempted to find common ground between American Top 40 and avant-garde, while Treats for the Nightwalker (2005) was a brass and string-enhanced avant-garde hip-hop jazz frontier-builder. New Constellations: Live in Vienna, which features the vibrant ensemble of old and new friends called the Constellations, brings the half-Jamaican musician closer to home, exploring the intensely rhythmic legacy of one of his heroes, trombonist Don Drummond, who is credited as one of the founding fathers of ska. Curiously, while paying homage to "Don D.," Roseman only creates fresh interpretations of two of the legend's actual compositions: the hard-driving and booming hypno-funky "Thoroughfare" and the throbbing, thumping club-friendly "Confucious," which features as much crazy honking sax as 'bone. Most of the disc finds Roseman creating his own heavy-groove jazz-meets-house-meets-ska and industrial-funk compositions in Drummond's image. "Greasy Feets Music" is long on percussion and bass and lighter on melody, but somehow danceable and compelling. The hilariously titled "Olsen Twins Subpoena" creates a sparse, creepy ambience around an intermittent muted trombone melody, while "Theme Constellations" (whose applause reminds listeners of the "Live in Vienna" portion of the CD title) begins as an ambient spaced-out trip before evolving into a lively brass-driven melodic jam session. Uniquely, Roseman also chooses to create the weirdest cover of the Beatles' "I Should Have Known Better" ever; its slow, dense rhythm with horns may be best enjoyed under some sort of influence, but it fits the vibe here well -- and once the melody kicks in, it's actually just about recognizable, for at least a few seconds. Fans on Roseman's artsy funk-jazz wavelength will probably be the chief audience for this unusual project -- but overall, it has a lot of heart between all the out-there creativity that may alienate a few casual jazz fans along the way. ~ Jonathan Widran