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INTERVIEWS

Wallace Roney and His Mission to Record and Perform Wayne Shorter's Long-Lost "Universe"

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Wayne Shorter is universally acknowledged as one of the greatest composers in the history of jazz, which is the history of American music. His compositions are played by instrumentalists in cramped and crowded nightclubs wherever on earth jazz music is performed. It's hard to imagine a jazz festival where at least few of his works don't cascade upon the ears at some point. Vocalists have added lyrics to some of his songs so they, too, can get involved in their interpretation. “He's an absolute jazz master, one of the greatest composers in jazz and, in my opinion, in ...

INTERVIEWS

Wallace Roney: In the Realm of Anti-Gravity

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Much is made of trumpeter Wallace Roney coming from the Miles Davis school, a mentor-protégé situation that blossomed in the 1980s that Roney is very proud of. But that wouldn't be telling the whole story of the Philadelphia native who, in his prime years, has become one of the world's finest trumpet players, and a musician whose quest for innovation is everlasting.Hearing jazz music around the house as a small child, it crept into his head and stayed there. “People couldn't understand a young kid really loving the music that way because everybody else was liking ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wallace Roney: If Only for One Night

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Wallace Roney's six-year association with HighNote--beginning with Prototype (2004), followed by Mystikal (2005), and culminating with Jazz (2007)--has allowed the trumpeter to amass a body of work far more indicative of where he's always wanted to be than his largely mainstream run with Muse in the early 1990s. If Only for One Night--culled from a four-night run at New York's Iridium--continues to paint a broader picture of an artist for whom the lifelong arc of Miles Davis remains an influence, but one distanced from mere mimicry through greater technical facility and an all-encompassing approach to collating a broad set of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wallace Roney: Jazz

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Even as Jazz is a tribute to Roney's mentors Art Blakey, Miles Davis and Tony Williams, it is much more. The musical flavors here cover a spectrum of jazz feeling, everything from bop to fusion to funk and other local stops. “Vater Time," the set's jump-right-in opener, is a Roney tune that moves from a funky intro to a swinging trumpet solo with Miles alum Robert Irving III lending muscular piano support; Roney's brother Antoine on tenor sax stokes matters further. A pair of Antoine tunes, “Children of Light and “Nia," share a predisposition for rather otherworldly ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wallace Roney: Jazz

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In a time when the definition of the word jazz is in heated debate, it takes a certain amount of courage for trumpeter Wallace Roney to use it as the title of his third release for HighNote. Roney continues to mine the place where contemporary rhythms and technology meet the language of jazz, and while there are those who will balk at his use of turntablists, synthesizers and hip hop rhythms, one listen is all it takes. It may be increasingly difficult to empirically define jazz, but one knows it when one hears it, and Jazz is most definitely a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wallace Roney: Jazz

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It's hard to imagine Wallace Roney making anything other than a bold statement with the trumpet. The Philadelphia native's razor sharp tone and vigorous pin-point precision has been on the cutting edge of modern jazz since his early days with Tony Williams and Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. On Jazz, Roney, along with his wife Geri Allen (keyboards) and younger brother Antoine (reeds), delves into a sonic landscape laden with modern funk grooves, simplified melodies and chops-heavy soloing.

The first two tracks, “Vater Time and “Children of the Light, are embedded with Roney's unremitting chromaticism, creating a rumble of unresolved tension. ...

INTERVIEWS

Wallace Roney: Fulfilling the Promise

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Trumpeter Wallace Roney has been working in jazz for over thirty years. He made his recording debut at age fourteen and played in the bands of Tony Williams, Art Blakey, David Murray and Herbie Hancock--just to name a few. A bandleader on his own for many years, Roney has dazzling chops and has composed some classic songs. He's never led a bad group, and when I saw him at Chicago's Green Mill in late August, the band was dazzling--powerful but supple, densely layered but capable of immediate transition.

Roney's most famous mentor was, of course, Miles Davis. It can't be ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Wallace Roney: Mystikal

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Wallace Roney Mystikal HighNote Records 2005

Mystikal, Wallace Roney's second outing on the HighNote label, continues in the path he first traveled with the 2000 CD No Room For Argument in laying out his own vision for jazz in the 21st Century. In what is essentially a synthesis of the dark-funk fusion of the '70s, post-bop harmonies, and various undercurrents of hip-hop and electronica, Roney's music is becoming at once more eclectic and more refined in its core conception. As to whether it truly represents the wave of the future, as it ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wallace Roney: Mystikal

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This amazing trumpet player blends the bebop tendencies of the Parker/Dizzy era with the more contemporary Miles Davis jazz-fusion sound, and he's one of few leaders to include a turntable player in his band. In fact, it was the work of turntablist Val Jeanty that most impressed at Roney's recent appearance at Joe's Pub on September 30. She complemented the band's sound with several effects, such as spacey sounds and spoken word samples. This instrument, mostly connected to the realm of hip-hop, seemed to fit into the group seamlessly. The band started out with ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wallace Roney: Mystikal

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We're all the sum of our experiences. Few can say that their lives haven't been influenced in some way by the views or work of others. So when people latch onto the effect that Miles Davis had on trumpeter Wallace Roney, it's fair to ask, “so what?"

Roney hung with Miles during his formative years, and the impact of the experience on his development is something he makes no attempt to cover up. But anyone who has listened to Roney's voice--most notably beginning with '97's Village, where he began to assimilate African rhythms and more electric orchestration, and continuing through ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wallace Roney: Prototype

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Like Sonny Stitt with Bird, Paul Quinichette with Prez, and Jon Faddis with Diz, Wallace Roney has been cursed (or blessed) with a tone and style hauntingly similar to a more famous blueprint, in this case Miles Davis. Previously trapped with endless comparisons, Roney is starting to break free by placing himself in musical milieus that Davis never ventured into. On Prototype, Roney has begun his journey into his own territory.

Shifting gears dramatically from his kinda “blue" period, Roney adds layers of keyboards and brooding reeds as a tonal backdrop to his sweet and yearning solos. With hints of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wallace Roney: Prototype

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On Prototype , his first album in four years, trumpeter Wallace Roney continues to develop ideas begun on Village ('97) and No Room For Argument ('00). That is to say, as the liner notes describe, “Miles' playing and his album Nefertiti as one link; Weather Report as the compositional link; Mwandishi (pianist Herbie Hancock groundbreaking early '70s fusion band) as the conceptual link, with John Coltrane as the spiritual link."

Roney's links to Miles Davis have been written about and, perhaps, overexaggerated. There is no doubt that Roney's playing and concept of openness stems from Miles and a time in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wallace Roney: Prototype

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Prototype is Wallace Roney's latest effort to blaze innovative new trails within the musical territory first explored by Miles Davis. The music that Roney and company put forth is simultaneously visceral and creative--revolutionary, but cognizant of popular tastes. The group--Roney's wife Geri Allen on piano, brother Antoine on saxophones, Davis alumnus Adam Holzman on keyboards, Matt Garrison (son of Jimmy) on basses and Eric Allen on drums--is a cohesive unit that moves seamlessly with its leader through a program of challenging music-in-the-moment that is unafraid to shift phases to modify moods. On the opening track, Ronnie Burrage's “Cyberspace," ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kenny Drew Jr. Trio with guests: Wallace Roney & Stefon Harris: Remembrance

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It’s difficult to fathom that the wondrously adept pianist Kenny Drew Jr. (son of jazz trumpeter Kenny Drew) is a self-taught musician. And with his latest release titled Remembrance, he pays homage to three sadly departed jazz luminaries; Milt Jackson, Art Farmer and Manfredo Fest. Here, the pianist garners additional support from vibraphonist Stefon Harris and trumpeter Wallace Roney who appear on selected tracks.

Essentially, Drew is a musician who can successfully equalize his vast repertoire and altogether enviable technique with subtle elegance and fiery dynamics amid interludes of various tempos and sentiment. On Milt Jackson’s classic “Bags Groove”, Drew ...



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