As modern Jazz goes, The Roller Trio have exploded onto the scene. This Leeds-based three-piece were picked up part way through 2012 by BBC introducing, and immediately their album was picked up for nomination at the Mercury Awards and the MOBOs. It’s easy to see why; the album immediately kicks off in fine style. De-ep Heat opens with James Mainwairing’s saxophone explorations transforming into a heavy groove based track which definitely sets the pace for the whole album. Interesting, electronic soundscapes, Jazz-inspired saxophone lines and heavy, funky grooves are the order of the day. The music on this album is heavily based on repeated riffs, which meander into expressions and explorations of the way in which the basic, original ideas can be altered.
For these three graduates of Leeds College of Music, the music controls everything- the odd use of punctuation in the song titles giving the names the same stops and starts as the tracks themselves (The Na-il Tha-t Stan-ds Up, A Dark Plac-e To T-hink), and the cover art coming from tying a pen to their speakers whilst the album was playing and letting the motion of the music create the image. The punctuation in the music shows where riffs change, and where tracks either slow down, or when the band returns to a single idea from group improvisations, creating a sense of structure in the compositions.
This album is a visceral new route that these modern Jazzmen are experimenting with, mixing the old with the new and creating a unique, angular approach to an older style.