Rest in Power, Wallace Roney. May 25, 1960 - March 31, 2020
Blue Dawn - Blue Nights
Street Date: August 30, 2019
On his twenty-second recording as a leader, Philadelphia-born trumpeter and bandleader, Wallace Roney is thrilled to be leading his band with the next generation jazz innovators: saxophonist Emilio Modeste, pianist Oscar Williams II, bassist Paul Cuffari, and his fifteen year old nephew, drummer Kojo Odu Roney. On Blue Dawn - Blue Nights, Roney is the icon to these up-and-comers and he augments this band by enlisting Philly guitarist Quintin Zoto and legendary drummer Lenny White. With exceptional sterling sound by engineer Maureen Sickler at the board of Rudy Van Gelder’s legendary New Jersey studio, the leader’s bold and bravura trumpet tones, are as vivid and vibrant as ever, with a resonance as riveting as it is radiant, buoyed by the dancing and dynamic drumming of Kojo and White, Cuffari’s bone-deep bass lines, Williams’ poetic and profound pianism, Zoto’s lean guitar lines and Modeste speaking no evil on sax.
“My music is uncompromising so I look for musicians who have an expansive understanding of what’s possible and who have the ability to play above that, but who are always cognizant of what’s going on around them,” Roney says. “I tell them ‘be true to who you are. Go all the way in, learn every part of what the masters have done, but let it come out you’.”
Emilio Modeste is already one of the world’s best young tenor players, and on this record he unleashes serpentine-fired solos that encompass Dexter Gordon’s long, tall tones as well as Wayne Shorter’s and John Coltrane’s multiverse imagination. Oscar Williams II is a thirty-one year old, Kansas City blend of Thelonious Monk’s angular artistry and Keith Jarrett’s inspired improvisations. On his first interaction with the pianist, Roney recalls: “He had beautiful touch and a scope of understanding. He was shy but I could hear that innovative spirit in him--that’s why I hired him, and I never looked back” Next to take his deserved place on the bandstand is twenty-year-old Paul Cuffari. Affiliated with the likes of Mark Johnson and Enoch Smith, Jr. the youngster regards Paul Chambers and Ron Carter as two of the leading lights who have inspired both his foundation and development. Introduced to the New Jersey bassist by Williams, Roney admired his beautiful tone--“he had the fundamentals down, but he was also willing to step out on the ledge without sacrificing the thing that holds the music together: big, beautiful bass sound.” Last, but by no means, least is Kojo Odu Roney - a fifteen year old drummer of incredible ability and potential.
On Blue Dawn - Blue Nights, Roney made a conscious decision not to include any of his own compositions. Reflecting upon the track selection for the album, the bandleader wanted to “give the guys a forum to write and make a statement. I’ve always done that. They come up with something, and I might say, ‘let’s go here, or do this here.’ And by showing them certain things, it extends their knowledge of what can be done musically. And that’s what I do!” Indeed, Wallace Roney proves that being true always make the best leaders.
"Make no mistake, though: The set belonged to Roney, whose clear, beautiful, vibrato-less tones still echo his mentor Miles Davis... They resounded heavily through the evening and even seemed to linger onstage when their maker had left it.” Read the full review here.
"Given what we’ve long known about his remarkable artistry and output, is it any wonder that Wallace Roney’s latest CD is worth acquiring for its deep soulfulness alone? On this outing the trumpeter delivers the goods upfront, just two tracks into a session brimming with youthful talent and energy..." Read the full review here.
"Without overhauling his sound, trumpeter Wallace Roney’s music remains fresh, and his latest disc, Blue Dawn–Blue Lights evidences its quintessential vivacity." To read the full feature click here.
"The enchanting “Why Should There Be Stars” highlights the core rhythm section’s stylistic adaptability — and Roney’s masterful ballad playing — while underscoring the set’s laudable stylistic range and exquisite musicianship." Review here.
From his debut Verses in 1987, Roney has played in every music context available to his expressive trumpet approach. He’s been blessed by the masters and carries on their legacy in his sound. - read full review here.
STRAIGHT NO CHASER
"But Wallace has moved from beneath the shadow of Miles Davis to become his own uncompromising musician. Whether touring and recording with old friends like Lenny White, Patrice Rushen and Buster Williams (A Place in Time), or building new extended bands to bring to life Shorter’s long-shelved masterpiece "Universe", Roney has proven he is his own man." To listen to the full interview, click here.
LA HABITACIÓN DEL JAZZ
"Wallace Roney takes the leading role and unleashes his companions to give their best and demonstrate their abilities to be true to themselves while giving them great interpretive and compositional opportunities." - read full interview here.
The disc contains eight original songs that demonstrate the leader's excellent compositional skills and the great level of harmony among the group. To read the full review click here.
MUSIC AND MORE
"Overall this album worked very well, the band is tight and obviously very well rehearsed and familiar with the material which is catchy and covers a lot of ground. Mainstream jazz fans should find a lot to like in this release." Read the full review here.
“Roney’s muted horn has a sharp, thin sound that stabs at the melody like an ice pick, as Cuffari and Kojo Roney drive him forward with gentle but insistent force.” Read the full review here.
DEE DEE MCNEIL
“Wallace Roney has the tone and beautiful execution on his trumpet that makes me want to bow my head and pray.” Read the full review here.
"Roney has delivered one of his best albums in a long while..." Read the full review here.
CHICAGO JAZZ MAGAZINE
"Blue Dawn – Blue Nights is more than another, uniformly superb, Wallace Roney album. It is also an outlet for his protégés to demonstrate their skills." Read the full review here.
JAZZ VIEWS WITH CJ SHEARN
"Wallace Roney hits it out of the park with this new quintet. The band is one of the best, and tightest he’s had, completely sympathetic to his specific vision of extending musical legacies." Read the full review here.