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Jazz by Wallace Roney

It’s not a revelation that trumpeter Wallace Roney’s mode of attack and overall sound has been compared to Miles Davis. Yet few will doubt his enviable technical acumen, gorgeous tone and forward-thinking dogma. On this endeavor he once again unites with estimable keyboardist/ wife, Geri Allen, brother/saxophonist Antoine and former Miles keyboardist Robert Irving III among others. The trumpeter morphs a hip integration of cross-genre elements featuring a turntablist, DJ, and streaming EFX treatments that uncannily complement his strong comps, awash with memorable hooks and spirited soloing jaunts.

The band abides by a zippy groove mechanism via funky backbeats, rapid breakouts, fiery swing vamps and other seamlessly integrated components. In fact, the leader’s even-handed commingling of contemporary music fare with neo-modern jazz maneuvers is executed with finesse and good taste. Neither stylization suffers from becoming an overly predominant force.

On the opener "Vater Time," Roney’s darting ¼ notes and up-tempo melody line rides atop a punchy groove set down by the rhythm section and Val Jeanty’s turntable scratches. Otherwise, Geri Allen’s lush piano phrasings during "Inflorescent," nicely counterbalance Roney’s golden-toned choruses amid a buoyantly flowing pulse and Antoine Roney’s steamy sax solo. And in other spots, the unit conjures up ominous themes, equalized with genteel thematic forays. Then on "Her Story," the hornists’ make every note convey a story via a series of resonating soundscapes to cap off this rather wistful tone poem.

They reinvent Sly Stone’s mega pop hit "Stand," with subtle hints intimated over drummer Eric Allen’s 4/4 pulse and the keyboardists’ liquefying notes. No doubt, the ensemble renders a new spin on an old tale. Therefore, Roney’s latest genre fusing brainchild is a notable triumph, especially as we take into consideration the disproportionate failure rate by many other jazz artists who can’t seem to get it right. (Recommended.... )

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Wallace Roney
  • CD Title: Jazz
  • Genre: Progressive
  • Year Released: 2007
  • Record Label: HighNote
  • Rating: Four Stars
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