The old saw that trumpeter Wallace Roney sounds just like Miles Davis is beside the point because, well, he does sound a heck of a lot like Miles. That’s okay. A generation of trumpeters sounded just like Dizzy Gillespie or just like Clifford Brown. On the live record If Only for One Night, Roney and his working quintet present a varied program of music that runs straight toward the Miles connection.
Here, the band starts with a Bitches Brew era funk workout, “Quadrant”, with Aruan Ortiz rocking a heavy synth sound, a clavinet groove, and eventually an adventurous acoustic piano solo. Roney is pungent on trumpet, and he has his brother Antoine back in the band here playing tenor and soprano. On “Only with You” and “Metropolis”, the quintet sounds like Miles in the 1960s, playing driving post-bop that brims with muscular attitude. Roney is Harmon-muted and introspective on the title track, and he pulls off a Miles-esque pop cover of Janet Jackson on “Let’s Wait a While”.
Throughout this set, the band is inventive and powerful, even if they seem to be searching for a clear identity. In being able to play anything (at least anything Davis-inspired), the band loses itself a bit. Roney seems most himself on the final track, a solo trumpet essay for his son, where he sheds the Miles sound somewhat and hints at his classical studies.
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work as independent cultural critics and historians. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. We need your help to keep PopMatters strong and growing. Thank you.
// Notes from the Road
"Saul Williams played a free, powerful Summerstage show ahead of his appearance at Afropunk this weekend.READ the article