Go Down, Roseman

Josh Roseman (far right) and band at Stanford on Nov. 12, 2011 -- they were more Sun Ra than Skank frankly

My rabbi, Steven Bernstein (Sex Mob, MTO, Berkeley High, Earthwise Productions 10th anniversary show), gave “Plastic Alto” six minutes and 37 seconds by cell to help me and my readers get ready for the Josh Roseman show, which is coming to Stanford Lively Arts as a sextet on Saturday, November 12.

Josh, who also in recent years helped out at the Stanford Jazz Workshop and sometimes frequented Printers Cafe in Palo Alto will be playing Jamaican-tinged jazz as found on his recent Accurate Records release:


I wrote about Josh’s upcoming visit previously, and had the briefest conversation with him, but was somehow moved to get the skinny on him from another renowned bandleader, Bernstein. I call Bernstein now and again for ideas or advice and interviewed him a few years back live for KZSU (as I did for three other of Roseman’s colleagues Peter Apfelbaum, Charlie Hunter and Don Byron).

As part of our  banter, Steven Bernstein agreed that people might have at times confused Josh Roseman with Josh Redman, “especially when they were both young and coming up”. First I joshed Steven so to speak to pretend slightly stoopidly that somebody might confuse Steven’s instrument, a slide trumpet, with Josh’s axe, a trombone.

Steven Bernstein and Josh Roseman have each played with Charlie Hunter, but it was Curtis Fowlkes who played trombone recently in Charlie’s section with SB, not Josh, and on Steven’s recent cd. Allmusic dot com would have cleared up all this in a more forthright manner, but it is fun to marvel in the interconnectedness of today’s generation of jazz gods with a little faux naive teasing and questioning.  Josh has a long list of sideman credits and notably was a member of the first SFJAZZ collective. He also teaches at the New School and a couple other places plus runs a venue in Brooklyn.

The fact is that Steven Bernstein said he has known Josh Roseman for more than 25 years and remembers the first time they met when they were both in a section in the Big Apple, when Josh must have still been in high school (before he went to New England Conservatory, but well after Bernstein had left Berkeley High, where he has gigged copiously with his classmates Apfelbaum and another great trombonist Jeff Cressman).

Somewhere therein with Bernstein a propos of Roseman I mentioned that I had verbally committed to Rush Gershon of Either Orchestra and Accurate Records that I would raise some money and fly his group out here next year to do their Ethiopian bit. Russ is another Josh Roseman colleague, having hired him for his band back numerous times back in the day and having put out the most recent sessions on his label (following Josh’s work on Enja and Knitting Factory). Steven had said that his most recent and perhaps mos def MTO (orchestra) project was indeed a Sly Stone tribute but had not been out to San Francisco Bay Area yet. “It takes real money. It has 12 players.”

I also asked Steven Bernstein, in code,  in yiddish, like in the prologue for “A Serious Man” whether Josh Roseman, despite recording a Jazz Ska attack thing also came by honestly his stint with Don Byron’s Mickey Katz thing, and we agreed that although Steven and Josh have not yet recorded together their ancestors and mine, and Charlie’s, and Russ’s were all in a section together, back in the day, shlepping stones to the top of the pyramid of Giza, but not on the sly or as a family outing, as in when Israel was in Egypt’s land, let my people go. Paul Robeson you know. O Brother where art thou and all that. Sullivan’s travels. If you feel me. What is the frequency, Faulkner? Oley, Grandfather. Oy. Oy. Mine aching back.

Finally getting to my one question (as opposed to the four questions, if you permit me further exodus in a subtle Pesach subtext):

What should the listeners shed with to prep for Josh Roseman at Stanford, coming up next week, his Jamaican thing?

1) He didn’t say this — too modest — but I will:


2) He actually said this.


Or he said “Breaking Bread”. It is true that the cell cut in and out a few times — nature of the beast — six six six and all that — sometimes eleven seven – but never four four four — that would be Bernie Worrell, no misrespect mind you — but I’m still a greenhorn or a tenderfoot and am not actually on the bus or on the horse thank you Jesus and was afeared to ask the rabbi to clarify, like soup. When John Ellis opened for Bernie Worrell at B.B.King’s in New York he pointed out that it wasn’t really jazz in that all the songs were 4/4 timing. Actually, Worrell adds a lot of spice to Bernstein’s cd so I should bite my tongue).



He said “Roswell Rudd” and I have taken poetic, self-serving and plastic alto license here to be more pacific about which cd. I like this one because tru-dat Roswell and Steve Lacy (and JJ Avenel and the other JB John Betsch, as distinct from JB Jenny Bilfield the producer of Josh’s show — had to get that mention in here somewhere) rehearsed together for the first time in years in Andy Heller’s San Carlos studio the night before the first show of a tour that finished probably at Iridium in 1999 in NYC before going into the studio to make this cd. Get it? I mean “Get it!”

See the link to  Josh’s cd see above.

I mentioned that the night after Josh Roseman at Stanford there will be light in the form of Abraham Inc at CalPerformances the next day. And Beth Custer on clarinet has a big show in the City on Thursday.

Abraham Inc features David Krakauer on clarinet and Fred Wesley on trombone, and yet another Josh, Socalled, Dolgin on keys and beats. I went by Jack’s I mean Boom Boom Room in SF — it’s on Fillmore near the Mildred Howard public art piece Blue — and spoke to the owner Alex Andreas about how we should on the down low bring a bone summit with Josh and Fred. If it happens it will be like 2 a.m. and no publicity — but either or and if,  you heard it here first.

edit to add: I just noticed that on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at noon at Cantor Museum Loren Schoenberg of the Harlem Jazz Museum will lecture on the relationship between Latin or Caribbean culture and Jazz. I met Loren earlier this year when he came out to lecture at Stanford on Mingus. I also noticed — although this is more about Steven Bernstein than Josh Roseman — that someone has posted online a recording of the show Bernstein did for Earthwise, The Diaspora Suite.

I still don’t get it why sometime the links to the online store come out with the album artwork and sometimes just the address but since this link worked in the previous post I will add it here to lively up:


edit to add, November 9, 2011: Checked in with Josh Roseman’s studio assistant, the Fugazi-loving Sam Lawrence (?), who got JR to send me this update:

Hi, Mark
i understand you called the studio looking for the lineup for Saturday-

here’s a mini blurb from the (social media page) event I put up, see below…
holler if I can be of further asssistance, OK

Josh Roseman solar flare double trio in performance at Stanford Lively Arts

Saturday, November 12 · 8:00pm – 10:00pm

kind of dubby ridiculousness- fresh from underneath a planet, we bring a sigil of blasts, sparkles and righteous group mutterings to Stanford’s Campbell Recital hall.
And check the band out:
Joshua- trombone and digital appliances
Myron Walden- alto saxophone
Peter Apfelbaum- organ
Barney McAll- sound design, tuning and sprinkles
Mark Guiliana- drums
Curtis Hasselbring- trombone and guitar

please to be come and check it

will do, josh.

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
This entry was posted in ethniceities, film, jazz, media, music, Plato's Republic and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Go Down, Roseman

  1. markweiss86 says:

    maybe this is not the place to promise to read further in James Sullivan’s book on James Brown:

  2. markweiss86 says:

    It’s a digression but here is Jess Lee Brooks singing “Go Down, Moses” in a 1941 classic movie:

  3. markweiss86 says:

    actually this whole thing reminds me of the anecdote about Steve Lacy going to all the Monk shows in 1963 or so and goes up to Monk and re-introduces himself and Monk says something like “I know. I know. How many mother-f soprano players do you think there are?” as in of course he remembers Steve. Reported in the Duke Press anthology of stories about Steve Lacy.

  4. markweiss86 says:

    Steven Bernstein told me that he and Josh Roseman have never been on the same session. Also, I got in wrong above to say that Josh Roseman and John Ellis were on the same Charlie Hunter cd — not. I have a lot of respect for Josh and am anxious to see the show even if I have a funny way of showing it here.

  5. markweiss86 says:

    couple other album credit points: josh played on roswell rudd trombone summit or whatever. also, steven mentioned gary volante as something else to shed with. (and I deleted my run on or pun on “shed with” versus “shedroff” — Josh Redman’s birth name.

    Actually this is all eerily like the way I kept going back to Mal Sharpe when Steven Bernstein band was at BOTH and Steven finally said “enough with the Mal Sharpe!”

  6. markweiss86 says:

    a freak coming. pun on afiikoman.

  7. markweiss86 says:

    also went by stanford today to catch the meat part of Loren Schoenberg’s talk on Caribbean and Latin influence on jazz. He gave us the actual composer of Caravan and led us in a little clap out to get the beat. I said ex parte that it reminded me of the night that John Ellis and Joe Martin and I caught the 1 a.m. Dave Holland show at Bluenote and they were counting out the beats on their hands trying to remember or get some thing laid down by the band, as we were walking to subways in the cold.

  8. Mark Weiss says:

    I spoke to Peter Apfelbaum briefly about Don Cherry and Dartmouth and then shouldn’t be surprised to find this somewhat recent post from Don Glasgo:
    Dear Saturnites,
    For those of you who might be interested, the Tribute to Don Cherry & John
    Gilmore at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. on Saturday went quite well. We
    had an audience of about 750, and I am indebted to several of you for your
    assistance. Before the show I showed slides of Cherry & Gilmore, with the
    Gilmore slides coming from photographer Michael Wilderman. I also played a
    compilation tape before the show, and one of those selections came from Robert
    Campbell–he kindly sent me a tape of the Sun Ra All Stars from 1983 (with
    Cherry & Gilmore). And one of the pieces we played–“Possession,” arranged by
    Prince Shell–was obtained from Allan Chase. Many, many thanks to Michael,
    Robert and Allan for their assistance. We ended up performing Duke Ellington’s
    “Lightnin’,” Sun Ra’s arrangement of “Pink Elephant’s on Parade” (which Michael
    Ray and I transcribed, and which I recently sent down to Marshall so the
    Arkestra could play it in New York–which apparently they did), a piece I wrote
    and dedicated to John Gilmore and Don Cherry–“Monarchs of the Sun,” another
    piece I wrote after Cherry was here in 1991–“Hornucopia,” Prince Shell’s
    arrangement of “Possession,” Sun Ra’s “Retrospect,” two Doussn’ Gouni melodies
    by Don Cherry, another tune of Don’s called “Bamako Love,” a 3/4 tune by
    Ornette which had never been performed–and which Ornette dedicated to Don
    “(Waltz in 3/4 for Don”), a composition of Peter Apfelbaum’s called
    “Deliverance” (also called “Civilization Dust”), and another tune of Ornette’s
    called “Space Flight.” And that was only the first half! (We did a lot with
    connecting solos and medleys to get it all in.) I have to say that Peter
    Apfelbaum did an incredible job on tenor. If you are not familiar with his
    work, you should check him out. He is getting into a very, very deep and
    profound level of playing. His best albums are probably Peter Apfelbaum and
    the Hieroglyphics Ensemble, SIGNS OF LIFE, and his album with Don Cherry,
    MULTIKULTI. He also has a sextet album coming out this Spring on Grammavision.
    It was a great show, and a fitting tribute. Michael Ray played a lot of pocket
    trumpet in tribute to Don, and did a wonderful job leading the student ensemble
    on “Pink Elephants” and “Retrospect.” Second half of the show was Michael Ray
    & the Cosmic Krewe. Three hour concert in all–and fitting in that way as
    well! Again, many thanks to you all for your help and support. It means a
    Don Glasgo
    p.s. Just a correction to Maggie’s note: Michael Ray & the Cosmic Krewe are
    playing at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on Friday, May 3rd (not
    Friday, May 5th).

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