Jun 25, 2021
The careers of jazz musicians Troy Roberts and Tim Jago have run scarily parallel. Both born and raised in Australia, they both initially re-located to the US to study at the prestigious University of Miami Frost School of Music. Multi-instrumentalist Roberts and guitarist Jago have remained close as they have carved out careers as in-demand sideman for the likes of Joey DeFrancesco, Aretha Franklin, Orrin Evans, Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts, Christian McBride, John Scofield and Terence Blanchard. They are both members of Roberts’ Nu-Jive group and have separately made recordings as leaders. And, just to keep the symmetry going, both have been members of the Frost School of Music faculty.
They are together again on Best Buddies, an album that allows them to jointly front a quartet with Australian roots. Ben Vanderwal, one of the most in-demand jazz drummers in Australia, and bassist Karl Florisson round out the group. Best Buddies is a collection of tunes written by Roberts, Jago and the members of the band, in the long-honored style of contrafacts, where a new melody is composed over the existing harmonic structure of various well-known jazz standards. The results are tunes like Roberts’ “Pho Twenny.” a ballad treatment over Gene de Paul’s jazz standard, “I’ll Remember April,” and Jago’s version of the greatest source of contrafacts, Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm,” here under the title "Chythm Ranges."
Podcast 825 is my talk with both Troy and Tim, as we talk about their long friendship, the roots of their collaboration on Best Buddies, and how they reinterpret classic harmonic structures to create new tunes. Musical selections include "Convertible Burt" from their collaboration Nu-Jive 5, plus two tunes from Best Buddies, Troy's "Halfway House in C Major" and Tim's "A New Porpoise."