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 sounds. The former begins spookily with Roney's trumpet and then is joined by Antoine's soprano sax. It is rhythmically engaging even as the sound becomes increasingly dense via Geri Allen's shining keyboard textures. "Nia is a dreamier piece on which Allen's keyboard is overlaid by the purity of trumpet and soprano sax. In tandem their sound is precise without ever becoming mannered.
Further enrichment comes from Val Jeanty's turntable, providing samples and electronic beats on Roney's "Revolution: Resolution ; this is one of several tracks which feature both Allen and Irving on keyboards. We're into territory that is at once mysterious and alluring as the Brothers Roney revel in a call-and-response motif.
Bud Powell's "Un Poco Loco closes the set. Roney runs up and down the scales with a dazzlingly light, bright heat matched by Allen at the keyboard and Eric Allen's drumming. The latter lends an unflaggingly propulsive energy that will be familiar to those who have followed Roney's recordings through the years. There is a bond of shared music experience that runs through this album, saluting where jazz has been even as it points to what's coming.
Track Listing: Vater Time; Children of the Light; Inflorescent; Fela's Shrine; Revolution: Resolution; Her Story; Stand; Un Poco Loco.
Personnel: Wallace Roney: trumpet; Antoine Roney: soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Geri Allen: piano, keyboards (2, 3, 5-9); Robert Irving III: keyboards, Fender Rhodes (1, 4, 6, 8); Rashaan Carter: bass; Eric Allen: drums; DJ Axum: turntables (1, 4); Val Jeanty: turntables (5, 6, 8).
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
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