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"Three Views of the Blues," the penultimate track on Prototype, trumpeter Wallace Roney's High Note debut, efficiently encapsulates Roney's present preoccupations. It begins with Adam Holzman's stabbing synth chords juxtaposed with mysterious cyber-scratch figures from D. J. Logic and techno-like beats from drummer Eric Allen. Suddenly, the time transitions to a medium-slow lope. Roney states a blues line with beautiful open tone, a sort of blend of Miles Davis and Clifford Brown, his two canonic trumpet influences. Holzman enters on the Fender Rhodes as the mood morphs to a world-funk ‘70s feel, and Roney concludes with a brief statement.
Far from the most spectacular track on Prototype, "Three Views of the Blues" illuminates the scope of Roney's reference. Miles biographer Quincy's Troupe's liner notes state: "Roney sees his music as an amalgam of links, with Miles' playing and his album Nefertiti as one link; Weather Report as the compositional link; Mwandishi as the conceptual link, with John Coltrane as the spiritual link."
Joined by a superb unit (spouse Geri Allen plays keyboards, brother Antoine Roney plays saxophones, and Matthew Garrison, a Roney bandmate with Herbie Hancock's turn-of-the-century Future-2-Future band), Roney navigates environments futuristic ("Quadrant 329-4-526" and "Cyberspace"), transdiasporic ("Shadow Dance" is a Herbie-meets-Trane form with an inspired opening salvo from guest Don Byron on bass clarinet), contemporary (the title track is by Andre Benjamin from Outkast), romantic (Al Green's "Let's Stay Together"), and avant-bop (based on an abstracted "Moose the Mooche" rhythm motif, "Then and Now" is an elastic dialogue by the Roney brothers).
Don't let this imaginative, beautifully played date pass under your radar.
Performance CreditsWallace Roney Primary Artist,Trumpet
Geri Allen Piano,fender rhodes
Don Byron Bass Clarinet
Adam Holzman Piano,Keyboards,fender rhodes
Clifton Anderson Trombone
Eric Allen Drums
Matthew Garrison Electric Bass,Bass Guitar,Double Bass,Acoustic Bass
Antoine Roney Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
DJ Logic Turntables
Technical CreditsGreen Composer
Wallace Roney Composer
Don Sickler Producer,Audio Production
Willie Mitchell Composer
Adam Holzman Composer
Ronnie Burrage Composer
Joe Fields Executive Producer
Antoine Roney Composer
Todd Whitelock Engineer
Al Jackson Composer
Quincy Troupe Liner Notes
André Benjamin Composer