The talents of trumpeter Wallace Roney, an alumnus of the latter-day Miles Davis group, have sometimes been obscured by the shadow of that venerable jazz giant. The three-time Grammy winner's gifts include the fine lyricism and sensitive dynamics he brought to Me'Shell NdegéOcello's intermittently bombastic opus "Al Falaq 113" from her 2005 release The Spirit Music Jamia: Dance of the Infidel. Within his own group, Roney creates immediacy through his savvy and innovative arrangements and instrumentation. His recordings have included a turntablist along with the standard setup of pianist, bassist, and drummer. The scratching and cutting on songs such as the funk jazz "Stargaze" from his 2005 album Mystikal serve a clear purpose in the mix, never sounding thrown in for the sake of contemporary appeal.
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The Philadelphia native first gained prominence in the early 1980s with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Having performed with Joni Mitchell, Ornette Coleman, and dozens more, Roney has used his versatility to build a reputation as a leader among true jazz instrumentalists. His tone is full and rich, at times even approaching the range and punch of the trombone. He is also, of course, quite comfortable with the muted trumpet style that evokes, but does not parrot, the work of his late mentor. Andrés Solar