All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

330

Wallace Roney: Prototype

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
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 the late '80s when Roney was hanging with the Prince of Darkness. But whereas Miles changed direction countless times during his career, Roney has chosen a starting point for his music—that of the transitional Miles period of Nefertiti through Filles de Kilimanjaro —and steadfastly evolved the idea, incorporating contemporary technologies and rhythms, painting a picture of where Miles might have gone had he been more evolutionary than revolutionary.

Take "Then and Now," with its "I Got Rhythm" changes. It may start out as the most mainstream-sounding piece on the record, but only for about thirty seconds as it quickly breaks down into a freer piece, with wife Geri Allen peppering the song with abstract harmonies while bassist Matt Garrison and drummer Eric Allen play loose and elastic with the time. But while the track unquestionably fits within the context of the album as a whole, it is something of an anomaly.

"Cyberspace" opens the album with a dark and deep funk groove, Roney and brother Antoine on saxophone stating the attractive yet edgy theme while keyboardist Adam Holzman, who spent time in Miles' late '80s bands, colors the piece with sharp chords and subtle washes. Similarly, "Shadow Dance" finds an expanded horn section building the extended theme over a 3/4 ostinato before heading into more exploratory territory, with guest Don Byron delivering a particularly pungent solo. The title track is a tender ballad, but even though it is one of only two completely acoustic tracks ("Then and Now" being the other), it brings a sense of freedom to the more closely-adhered changes that lends it a consistency with the rest of the record.

It is, in fact, this sense of freedom that pervades the whole record, giving it a sense of urgency. That's not to say this is exactly free jazz; rather it is more open-ended jazz where a firm sense of rhythm exists throughout, but with harmonic and thematic liberation the group is less concerned with hanging on specific changes and, instead, uses harmonic devices as a jumping off point, much as early Weather Report did.

Prototype continues to evolve Roney's conception of jazz, one that successfully combines inarguable roots with a more contemporary view, incorporating a diversity of influences into a blend where the fundamental notion is that of freedom, but, like Miles before him, with a clearly-defined rhythmic and harmonic basis.


Track Listing: 1. Cyberspace; 2. Shadow Dance; 3. Prototype; 4. Then And Now; 5. Let's Stay Together; 6. Quadrant; 7. Three Views Of The Blues; 8. Secret Identity.

Personnel: Wallace Roney: trumpet; Antoine Roney: saxophones; Geri Allen: piano; Adam Holzman: keyboards; Matthew Garrison: basses; Eric Allen: drums; Clifton Anderson: trombone; Don Byron: clarinet; DJ Logic.

Title: Prototype | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: HighNote Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Northern Migrations CD/LP/Track Review
Northern Migrations
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Egregore CD/LP/Track Review
Egregore
by John Eyles
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Lifelike CD/LP/Track Review
Lifelike
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Whatever Possessed Me CD/LP/Track Review
Whatever Possessed Me
by Don Phipps
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Live At The Fillmore East 1968 CD/LP/Track Review
Live At The Fillmore East 1968
by Doug Collette
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 21, 2018
Read "The Wandering Woods" CD/LP/Track Review The Wandering Woods
by Jim Olin
Published: October 9, 2017
Read "New Angle" CD/LP/Track Review New Angle
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 13, 2017
Read "The Bug" CD/LP/Track Review The Bug
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 20, 2017
Read "Disappeared Behind the Sun" CD/LP/Track Review Disappeared Behind the Sun
by John Sharpe
Published: January 21, 2018
Read "Kurrent" CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: November 15, 2017
Read "20" CD/LP/Track Review 20
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 20, 2018