The truth is that the Roller Trio stood no more chance of winning than common-sense has in the American Republican Party, but from what little I’ve heard Alt-J are worthy winners. In fact, in some ways they and the Roller Trio have similarities, not so much in terms of the final product but of the attitude towards music-making that is focused on an individual vision and not so much on potential record sales.
Why do I like the Roller Trio?
Well, I can’t say they’re actually my favourite band or that their music is my most favourite ever, but I would say that at the moment they are the most exciting band I’ve heard for a long time. Ever since I heard their live show on the Radio (Jazz on 3) I’ve been hooked.
There is a context to their music. It is part and parcel of a growing young European Jazz scene (predominantly but not exclusively British) that somehow injects the energy of punk into the improvisational discipline of contemporary jazz. And these musicians weren’t even born when punk existed as a major form of music. They belong to a landscape that includes TrioVD, Troyka, Led Bib and the World Service Project. It’s a scene that has learnt from the visceral energy of the best of rock music without the pomposity and derivativeness that’s bedevilled the music for the last 30 years. It’s also learnt from bands such as Bad Plus and the Esbjorn Svenssen Trio that are similarly informed by rock music.
So, in tribute to getting this far, here’s a picture of the Roller Trio taken from the British entertainment site Digital Spy: