World renowned cellist Hank Roberts'' new recording, "The Truth and Reconciliation Show", is a landmark work for a composer and musician who has been called by guitarist Martin Simpson, "one of the best players on any instrument that I have ever heard", recognized in DownBeat magazine''s International Critics'' Poll, and hailed by the New York Times for his ability "to shift the best elements of classical music, pop, and jazz into something new".
"The Truth and Reconciliation Show"â showcases Roberts'' writing for a larger ensemble, with his cello, as well as horns, guitar, keyboards, drums, bass, and vocalists. The large cast, known as "Hank Roberts & Wiggy Dog Boy", enables Roberts to connect musically and otherwise with the emergence of his long-hibernated alter ego, Wiggy Dog Boy. Wiggy takes us on a journey throughout the world and reminds us of the strife many people are suffering and how love and understanding has always been the answer. Roberts steps aside on this one and let''s Wiggy wail!
This is Roberts'' first time combining the music genres that have fascinated him over the years: not only avant-garde and traditional jazz, but also funk, rhythm and blues, rock, gospel and hip-hop. The lyrical element is bold, clearly reflective of hip-hop, with themes of war-mongering and political betrayal, institutional racism and institutionalized poverty, and lies of history and the modern media. The truth Roberts relates is harsh, but his rendering of it, as the title suggests, is conciliatory. The words are assertive but playful. The singing is joyful rather than anguished, reflecting the strength resistance takes, and gives. (Critics and fans who have long noted that Roberts'' virtuoso cello-playing tends to overshadow his considerable vocal and verbal gifts will be delighted by their prominence here.)
Roberts'' long career began in his native Midwest with orchestras, concert bands, rock and soul bands, and jazz groups. It reached a storied plateau in the 1980''s in the downtown New York jazz scene, with colleagues such as Bill Frisell, Tim Berne, Joey Baron, David Sandborn, and others. In the 1990''s, when he moved with his family to Ithaca, New York, Roberts began a series of eclectic forays into jazz mixed with acoustic Americana, rock, reggae, and other roots music. With the release of "The Truth and Reconciliation Show", and extensive performances planned to support it, Roberts stands ready to reach new audiences and new levels of achievement.
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