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Interviews

Wallace Roney: Fulfilling the Promise

By Published: November 28, 2005
AAJ: That's just the old fanboy bullshit. It suggests that those older players were a different species—like Superman.

WR: Well, I might disagree. They were Superman! But I believe they picked other people to be with them in their legion of superheroes! So you got to start digging what Mulgrew or Geri can do. And respect it.

AAJ: Well, yes. And while everyone should own as many Miles records as they can, you can't just sit with your Miles records and declare nothing else is happening. It's not reality.

WR: And you're actually killing the world of music by saying not enough's happening since then. Instead of honoring what is happening.

AAJ: Well, if nobody goes to any gigs, I guarantee there will be nothing happening out there.

WR: Dig that. If you want to cultivate it, encourage it.

AAJ: With the experiences you've had, the trouble getting enough gig—I would be so frustrated and upset. But you don't sound discouraged; you sound positive. How do you keep your attitude?

WR: I've got heroes in this business. Of course, Miles is the ultimate hero. Roy Haynes is a hero to me. Tony Williams—Tony was a guy who spoke the truth. He played the truth and he spoke it. He didn't let politics enter in to it. Tony was like that and I appreciate him for it. But Roy Haynes did something that was beautiful. One night I was playing with Chick Corea's band with Roy and these Down Beat guys came up to Roy. They wanted to do an article on Roy. And Roy said, "what? I don't want to do an article. You want to do an article on me now when I'm 72 years old—where were you then when I needed you? Back when I was younger, y'all wasn't doing nothing on me! I don't need an article; I know how to survive and live at this point. Interview Wallace and Kenny [Garrett].

I said, "Roy, you're a hero. [laughing] Of course, they went on to do Kenny! But that was cool! Another hero was Dizzy Gillespie. They were doing his 75th birthday thing for Dizzy, and they had everybody mapped out who they wanted to use. And Dizzy said, "wait a minute! Where are these people? And he made them put on the musicians he wanted! And guys like Dizzy are the heroes of the business, and they know. Dizzy played with Bird! He knows what it's like for a musician that is trying to go forward, that is playing truth. Tony was that way, too. Just because someone said some guy's great—Tony would say, "well, back then, in the era everyone thought was so great, that musician wouldn't have been working with us! Nowadays, they're pushing a guy like that, but he wouldn't have got on Herbie's record Maiden Voyage. Funny thing is, maybe now he would! But Tony always talked that way, even to the end.

Visit Wallace Roney on the web.


Selected Discography

Wallace Roney, Mystikal (High Note, 2005)
Calhoun, Native Lands (Half Note, 2005)
Meshell Ndegeocello, Spirit Music Jamia: Dance of the Infidel (Shanachie, 2005)
Wallace Roney, Prototype (High Note, 2004)
The Lenny White Project, Tribute to Earth, Wind & Fire (Trauma, 2004)
Terri Lyne Carrington, Jazz is a Spirit (ACT, 2002)
Vince Herring, Simple Pleasure (High Note, 2001)
Wallace Roney, No Room for Argument (Stretch, 2000)
Bill Evans, Touch (Zebra, 1999)
David Sanborn, Inside (Elektra, 1999)
Makoto Ozone, Three Wishes (Polygram, 1998)
Dizzy Gillespie, Triple Play (Telarc, 1998)
Geri Allen, Gathering (Verve, 1998)
Wallace Roney, Village (Warner Brothers, 1997)
Chick Corea, Remembering Bud Powell (Stretch, 1997)
Freddie Hubbard, Hub Art: A Celebration of the Music of Freddie Hubbard (Hip Bop Essence, 1996)
Wallace Roney, The Wallace Roney Quintet (Warner Brothers, 1995)
Geri Allen, Eyes in the Back of Your Head (Blue Note, 1995)
Wallace Roney, Mysterioso (Warner Brothers, 1994)
Lionel Hampton, For the Love of Music (MoJazz, 1994)
Wallace Roney, Crunchin' (Muse, 1993)
Wallace Roney, Munchin' (Muse, 1993)
Randy Weston, Volcano Blues (Antilles, 1993)
Herbie Hancock, Dis is Da Drum (Mercury, 1993)
Antoine Roney, Traveler (Muse, 1992)
Tony Williams, Tokyo Live (Blue Note, 1992)
Wallace Roney, Seth Air (Muse, 1991)
Tony Williams, The Story of Neptune (Blue Note, 1991)
Miles Davis/Quincy Jones, Miles & Quincy Live at Montreux (Warner Brothers, 1991)
Wallace Roney, Obsession (Muse, 1990)
Joey DeFrancesco, Where Were You? (Columbia, 1990)
Wallace Roney, The Standard Bearer (Muse, 1989)
Marvin "Smitty" Smith, Road Less Traveled (Concord, 1989)
Tony Williams, Native Heart (Blue Note, 1989)
Wallace Roney, Intuition (Muse, 1988)
James Spaulding, Brilliant Corners (32Jazz, 1988)
Tony Williams, Angel Street (Blue Note, 1988)
Wallace Roney, Verses (Muse, 1987)
Kenny Barron, What If? (Enja, 1986)
Tony Williams, Civilization (Blue Note, 1986)
Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers, Feeling Good (Delos, 1986)
Tony Williams, Foreign Intrigue (Blue Note, 1985)

Related Articles
Wallace Roney Sextet at the Green Mill (2005)
Wallace Roney Quintet: The History of Jazz (2004)
Homage and Acknowledgement: A Conversation with Wallace Roney (2001)

Photo Credits:
Top Photo: Michael Kurgansky
All others: Adrian Buckmaster



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