Rest in Power, Wallace Roney. May 25, 1960 - March 31, 2020

Blue Dawn - Blue Nights
HighNote Records
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.

MIKE WEST
WASHINGTON POST
"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

EUGENE HOLLEY JR
HOT HOUSE
Read full feature here

MATT COLLAR
ALL MUSIC
BEST OF 2019
"Wallace Roney's eighth album for the HighNote label, 2019's Blue Dawn-Blue Nights, finds the trumpeter collaborating with a cadre of young lions and balancing dusky after-hours warmth and propulsive post-bop modalism." Editors Choice review here

MIKE JOYCE
JAZZTIMES
"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

JOHN MURPH
DOWNBEAT
"Without overhauling his sound, trumpeter Wallace Roney’s music remains fresh, and his latest disc, Blue DawnBlue Lights evidences its quintessential vivacity." To read the full feature click here.

MARK HOLSTON
JAZZIZ
"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

JIM HYNES
GLIDE
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.

 

CHARLES L. LATIMER
I DIG JAZZ
Read full interview  here

DANIELE CAMERLENGO
SUONO
”A solitary and daring voice of mainstream jazz.  The noble and creative figure displays elegance and whirling voracity on this release.”  Read the full review here

JOSÉ RAMÓN 
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

 

EUGENIO MIRTI
JAZZIT MAGAZINE
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.

TIM NILAND
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.

PHIL FREEMAN
STEREOGUM
“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
MUSICAL MEMOIRS
“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.

GEORGE HARRIS
JAZZ WEEKLY
"Roney always makes vintage tones sound fresh.”  Read the full review here

STEPHEN GRAHAM
MARLBANK
"Roney has delivered one of his best albums in a long while..." Read the full review here

HRAYR ATTARIAN
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

CJ SHEARN
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

FRANCOIS VAN DE LINDE
JAZZ JOURNAL
"Nearing 60, 'Blue' Roney is in excellent form and the future for his band of savvy juniors looks bright." Review here

KEVIN PRESS
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
What's Going On Today - read full interview here

WILLY LOPÉZ
CULTURA OVERDOSE
Read full feature  here

CHARLES WARING
RECORD COLLECTORS MAGAZINE
Wallace Roney Blue Dawn Blue Nights (⭐⭐⭐) Read full review here

GREG TURNER
THE ABSOLUTE SOUND
Full review here