Wednesday 23 December 2020

'Roll$ Roy¢e' by Roll$ Roy¢e

The debut, self-titled project by Roll$ Roy¢e marks an awesome collaboration by an exciting trio of musicians.

Comprised of band members Jake Leckie on bass, Nadav Peled on guitar and Shawn Baltazoe on drums, the Roll$ Roy¢e trio - although a Los Angeles-based collective - actually bonded almost serendipitously over the fact that they had each recently moved over from their previous home base of New York.  

Despite an already lengthy career which has seen him either record or perform with luminaries including Marc Ribot, Ursula Rucker and Christian McBride, bassist Jake Leckie only recently released his debut album, 'The Abode', playing band leader to an excellent array of musicians for a rapturously received project.  Also assuming the roles of mixing and mastering for the Roll$ Roy¢e project, Leckie's experience as a global performer and within varying musical styles and collaborations genuinely justify his tag as the "jazz bass wizard".

Nadav Peled's fantastic successes thus far have been rooted within his work as the founder, guitarist and band leader for the Anbessa Orchestra.  Their indelible take on 60s and 70s Ethiopian styles and compositions have made Anbessa inspired flag wavers for contemporary funk fans, while still a collective that pays homage to the genre's forefathers.  With a healthy selection of singles and EP releases dating back to 2015, this year Anbessa released the audio from their November 2019 live performance at the New City Brewery - a fantastic set that demonstrates their skill as fervent live performers once a mainstay on New York's live scene.

And then there's the boundless talents of the trio's drummer, Shawn Baltazor.  At one time or another, a member of diverse collectives including the John Yao Quintet, Nathan Eklund Group and Beninghove's Hangmen, Baltazor is also a renowned international performer as well as another former staple on New York's live circuit, having even extended that distinction to composing scores for the Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company.

On paper alone, the concept behind Roll$ Roy¢e and the fantastic trio of musicians involved already secure this as a real gem - three incredible artists, each with a wealth of experience as solo stars in their own right coming together to form this super group-esque faction that delivers at every turn.  'The Spot' serves as a perfect introduction to the project with its luscious hint towards that Brooklyn-styled soul initially popularised by names like The Budos Band and The Dap-Kings - that authentic and dusty analog aesthetic masterfully permeates throughout the music right at the outset and it's just a joy from there.  

From the bluesy nature of 'The Guide' to the trippy wonder of 'Multiverse', the biggest buzz of the release comes from the fact this may not be at all what people would have expected from these three artists coming together.  And while there may be elements here that serve as untapped territory for these three as individuals, it is now something familiar to them as a unit.  Fingers crossed that one day Leckie, Peled and Baltazoe will once again pile into the Roll$ Roy¢e for another journey into the dusty realms of analog soul.

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