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If Only For One Night by Wallace Roney

Mentored by Miles Davis who first heard him in 1983 at his birthday gala performance in Carnegie Hall, what everyone remembers, however, is when Miles chose trumpeter and composer Wallace Roney to share the stage at his historic performance in Montreux in 1991. That being said, Roney is definitely his own man and more importantly for us, his own musician. Recorded live at The Iridium, Wallace’s long time band presents a concert including a wide variety of progressive, hip, groove-oriented and tradition based straight-ahead jazz that pays notice to post- and hard-bop all the while being forward-thinking and both moves the soul and intellect.

This recording includes everything that jazz fans have come to love about Roney’s playing - hard-driving lines, harmonic inventiveness that uses upper chordal partials as the point of departure and not the point of arrival, and a rhythmic conception rooted in the traditional work of artists like Roy Eldridge but also brings to the table rhythmic influences from Wayne Shorter to Lee Konitz.

As an ensemble, Roney’s band moves as one. Built on the tradition of Art Blakey’s band, Roney has taken the typical jazz combo and kept the concept moving ahead by incorporating a wide variety of musical textures and hip feels into the ensemble’s façade. For example, when the group breaks off from Roney’s lovely ballad oriented muted solo on "If Only For One Night" and starts to trade small solos around the ensemble bassist Rashaan Carter and drummer Kush Abadey kick so cleanly and smartly together in a kaleidoscope of so many different ways, yet still maintaining a lock on the rhythmic structure, one can’t help but be moved by how fleet of foot and singular of mind they are.

Roney’s saxophone playing brother Antoine shows just how much he has grown as a soloist over the past decade. A force in his own right, it’s about time he started to get his own accolades in the jazz press. Keyboardist Aruan Ortiz never fails to impress, and his work behind the soloists, as on "Only With You," provides ample ammunition for anyone who thinks this kid isn’t the real deal. Drummer Abadey channels a little Tony Williams here and there, both in terms of polyrhythms and adds to it his own intuitive sense on how to help the soloists build their lines to incredible peaks of climatic moments. In the end, however, it’s the bold and wonderfully solid musical statements the band makes as a whole that has kept casual listeners and fellow jazz musicians captive over the years. It is those statements that are on full display here.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Wallace Roney
  • CD Title: If Only For One Night
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2010
  • Record Label: Highnote Records
  • Tracks: Quadrant, If Only For One Night, Only With You, I Have A Dream, Metropolis, Lets Wait Awhile, I Love What We Make Together and FMS
  • Rating: Five Stars
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