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Wallace Roney Interview

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"If you're going to play music, play music because you are driven, because you have to, because you love it!  Excellence is its own reward" Wallace Roney.

Wallace Roney is having a career that many jazz musicians would envy.  He was the protégé of Miles Davis (the only trumpet player Davis personally mentored)  and played with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, but has worked hard to create his own sound.
As a young musician coming up in Manhattan, Roney maintained a growing reputation on the trumpet, though he didn’t even own one of his own at the time. Roney is a forward-thinking, post-bop musician with a healthy respect for the jazz tradition. Blessed with a warm yet plaintive trumpet tone and a lithe improvisational style, Roney's distinctive playing bears the influence of such legendary predecessors as Miles Davis, Clifford Brown, and Woody Shaw. While many of his albums display his talent for swinging and harmonically advanced acoustic jazz, others reveal his love of genre-bending, electrified funk, hip-hop, and soul. He gave a us an interview few days before his performance in Athens.

1- How would you characterize your music?
Uncompromisingly  Progressive Jazz- Straight ahead and not a watered-down variation, yet encompassing all views of music.

2- With all those people you have worked with, which one do you believe is closer to you musically?
Not much to say here. Clearly Miles Davis

3- I read in an interview that you like to “play on the edge”. What is that exactly?
To play beyond the moment- Taking chances, stretching the melody and choosing notes in the chord that most people wouldn’t hear. While at the same time stretching your technical ability beyond the limits.

4- Where your inspiration come from or what inspire you ?
The Icons and the Possibilities that have yet to be explored.

5- Could you tell us a few words about your performance in Athens? 
My music is ongoing. An evolution in progress. I find the best musicians that can also be molded to reflect a progressive approach without shaming or cheating the music. And with that we see where the music develops each night.
My new band of young and veteran musicians like my young saxophone player Emilio. He’s been hanging with me and absorbing all the music that I have been showing him from the masters.  Emilio is becoming one of the best tenor players of today. Oscar, has a great imagination and I have been showing him how to incorporate things from Earl Himes, Nat Cole, Bud Powell, Monk, Herbie, Chick and Keith Jarrett. And Curtis and Eric have been at the helm of this music for the past 20 years and reflect everything before and after it.

6- Is there any truth in the saying that art is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration?
I don't know for certain, I'd say inspiration is way more important  than 1%!  I think all together hard work without creativity leaves a void…It is not alive. Without creativity, it will not be able to express and reflect your emotions and intellect.

7- What advice would you give a young musician?
If you're going to play music, play music because you are driven, because you have to, because you love it!  Excellence is its own reward.

8- What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Miles Davis told me to "keep playing your horn and don't let nobody tell you what to do, how to play and how to think or they will end up playing you…. instead of You playing your horn!"

9- What one song would work as the soundtrack to your life?
Round Midnight

10- What’s left to do that you haven’t already done?
Get Even Better!!!  Go beyond where I am at, as an artist and as a human being.

11- What are your plan for the next months?
To Master this instrument and keep playing and touring forever and always finding a way


Interview Patricia Graire - October 2017

WALLACE RONEY QUINTET on October 20 to 23, 2017 at Half Note Jazz club Trivonianou 17, Metz, Athens - 210 9213360

Last modified on Friday, 13 October 2017 10:51