Wallace Roney's music is a tough, taut and intransigent continuation of
the arcane forms and structured freedoms of Miles Davis' 1960s quintet.
Listeners often associate Roney with Davis, thanks to Roney's work with
the jazz legend early in Roney's career. But at this point, Davis'
impact on Roney can be considered mostly historic, with Roney's playing
larger in scope, firmer in tone and sharper in attack than Davis'.
Today, Wallace's set lists feature easy-on-the-ear themes that mask
harmonic complexities, while solos are fueled by strong moods and
sustained rhythmic drive informed by the spectre of Davis but far from
imitating him. Whether he performs up-tempo original compositions or
mainstream ballads, Roney is always compelling in his idiosyncratic
ways. His tendency to produce smeared tones, bent pitches and jabbing
rhythmic figures in the stratospheric range of the instrument
distinguishes his playing, as does the volatile spirit and ever-changing
direction of his phrases. With the Grammy-winning composer/pianist
Patrice Rushen on hand with guest reedman Gary Bartz and Wallace's
sidemen of choice, Ben Solomon, tenor sax, Buster Williams, bass and
Lenny White, drums, the musicians deliver a blisteringly accomplished
and creative session.