Wallace Roney, an authentic jazzman

A conversation with trumpeter Wallace Roney is the equivalent of a life lesson. This man, who shared solos with Miles Davis and who played alongside Art Blakey and many other jazz legends, considers practicing his art in the same way that a monk who felt the call of the Very high. Talking about commitment to it is not trivial. Since his childhood, he understood that his existence would be closely meshed with the blue note.
“At home, we listened to a lot of jazz and RnB, but I soon expressed a preference for jazz. I found this music richer and I chose the trumpet to follow the example of Miles [Davis], one of those we heard at home. It’s demanding music, though. Even now, I practice seven or eight hours a day and ask my colleagues the same thing. This is the price to pay to improve, “said the musician, Wednesday, during a telephone interview with Progress.

He also listens to old albums, including those of his idol, to stay alert. “He was a genius and when you’re at that level, you hear things. I study his music to discover what made him so great. That’s one of the things I do to keep the fresh look I’m doing on jazz, so I do not fall on autopilot, “says Wallace Roney.

He will perform on April 26, at 8 pm, at the Chicoutimi Hotel, then on the 28th in Quebec, and he has been working with the same group for two years. The quintet will present unpublished pieces since the album New Breed, on which they have been grouped, will be released in July. Those who fantasize about hearing standards will be at their expense. It’s not the kind of house.

“Why go in there when there are so many people playing My Funny Valentine? Every night, we try to produce something magical and when a moment of grace comes, we have the duty to enjoy it, “believes Wallace Roney. He likens these episodes to a gift, adding that this is one of the reasons that push him to play as often as possible, even in intimate rooms.

This will be the case during his stay in Quebec and among the musicians who will support him, there will be the tenor saxophonist Emilio Modeste. He has just left adolescence and has been part of the group for a year. “From my point of view, it’s the best tenor sax right now, which is not new in the history of jazz. Very early, guys like Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis have reached an equivalent level, “recalls the trumpet player.

He too was considered a prodigy. He is familiar with the pitfalls of his colleague. “Do not exploit the fact that you are young and do not dwell on what people say. When I was preparing my first record, I thought I was on a long trajectory, that I had to do everything to be as good as Miles, “says Wallace Roney.

Stable Entourage

Another way to stay in the breach is to play in a stable group, with which you can build a successful relationship. This is one of the reasons for being surrounded by colleagues with the same level of commitment, regardless of age. However, its influence is large enough to attract quality candidates when a place is released.

“I like to develop things by keeping the same world as long as possible,” says the trumpet player. In this way, the music becomes almost organic, a phenomenon that has contributed to the greatness of Miles and Ornette Coleman, among others. I prefer this mode of operation to “all star bands” and groups formed according to the circumstances.

He adds that the use of second-hand partners, comparable to tourists, is hardly compatible with the materialism that characterizes our time. They are more rare, indeed, musicians who prefer to play with a real jazzman, rather than a star offering generous pills. “But I would find it more motivating to work with Wayne Shorter than the Rolling Stones. I want to push the limits, “says Wallace Roney.

Alan Carter
Alan Carter
Alan Carter has been a reporter on the news desk since 2015. Before that she wrote about young adolescents and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Koz Post, Alan Carter worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella.