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An homage to Miles, Wallace Roney’s Stretch Records debut incorporates souvenirs that encompass the varied career of the incomparable Miles Davis. From echoes of his benchmark sextet to repetitious rock beats and sampled voices, Roney documents a valuable piece of history. Furthermore, the sampled voices include those of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and Deepak Chopra. Moving closer to dramatic intensity in this performance, Roney surrounds himself with artists who share his feeling of respect for what Davis was doing after 1970. “NeuBeings” paints a picture of electronic Miles without tampering with the trumpet sound. His tone remains pure and rich; the single most important element in Davis’ arsenal. The title track and “Cygroove” travel farthest from the mainstream. “Metropolis” contrasts that feeling with a dramatic, straight-ahead charge. “Midnight Blue,” as well, veers away from the rest of the program; this one a beautiful ballad. But most of Roney’s session focuses on the kinds of electronic magic that polarized the jazz world through several decades. Is it adventurous and innovative or “selling out” and unimportant? Is the use of synthesizers and other electronic instruments playfully trite, or in keeping with creative exploration? Wallace Roney doesn’t hold back. Like the late trumpeter who paved the way, Roney soars into territory that is charged with emotion and doesn’t look back to see who likes it. Recommended, No Room For Argument eschews foot-tapping swing for a surging infusion of dramatic adventure.
Track Listing: No Room for Argument; Homage & Acknowledgement (Love Supreme/Filles de Kilimanjaro); Straight No Nothing; Metropolis; Christina; NeuBeings; Cygroove; He Who Knows; Virtual Chocolate Cherry; Midnight Blue.
Personnel: Wallace Roney- trumpet; Steve Hall, Antoine Roney- tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, bass clarinet; Geri Allen- piano, Fender Rhodes, electric piano, synthesizer; Adam Holzman- Wurlitzer electric piano, organ, mini-moog, synthesizers; Lenny White- drums; Val
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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