Wallace Roney

Wallace Roney

Wallace Roney (born May 25, 1960) is an American hard bop and post-bop trumpeter.

He was born in Philadelphia and attended Howard University [http://www.howard.edu] and Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts after graduating from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts [http://www.ellingtonschool.org] of the D. C. Public Schools, [http://www.k12.dc.us] where he studied trumpet with Langston Fitzgerald of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Diagnosed with having perfect pitch abilities at 4 years old, Wallace began his musical and trumpet studies at Philadelphia's Settlement School of Music. He began studying with Sigmund Hering of the Philadelphia Orchestra at the age of 7 up until Herring's death in 1980. Herring, along with the watchful eye of Eugene Ormandy, regularly presented Wallace at recitals at the Settlement School and with the Philadelphia Brass Ensemble during his studies as a youth in Philadelphia. He took lessons from Clark Terry and Dizzy Gillespie. Wallace also studied with the great trumpeter Miles Davis from 1985 until Miles' death in 1993. Wallace credits Miles as helping to challenge and shape his creative approach to life as well as being his music instructor, mentor and friend. Wallace Roney holds the distinction of being the only trumpet player Davis ever personally mentored.

When he entered the Duke Ellington High School for the Performing Arts, Wallace Roney had already made his recording debut at age 14, and had attained distinction as a gifted local performer in the Washington, D.C area. In 1979 and again in 1980, Wallace Roney won the Down Beat Award for Best Young Jazz Musician of the Year. In 1989, and again in 1990, Wallace won Down Beat Magazine's Critic's Poll for Best Trumpeter to Watch.

With all of his skills and early accomplishments, Roney also spent years scrounging for work. Early in his career in the '80s, he was at one point homeless, he lived frugally, sleeping on the floors of friends' apartments and generally "wearing out my welcome," he recalled to Washingtonian Post writer James McBride. In 1983 his future began to look brighter—at least temporarily. While taking part in a tribute to Miles Davis at the Bottom Line in Manhattan, he actually got to meet his idol. "He [Davis] asked me what kind of trumpet I had," Roney told Time Magazine, "and I told him none. So he gave me one of his." Throughout two dismal years in '84 and '85 he was forced to play in Latin dance and reception bands. The New York clubs, once a prominent part of the jazz scene, had mostly disappeared. The skies began to clear in 1986 when Roney received two calls—within one month—to tour with two jazz legends: drummers Tony Williams and Art Blakey. The rest is history. Roney has been one of the most in-demand trumpet players on record, movie and commercial recording sessions since his arrival on the professional circuit.

Roney first came to international prominence in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers when he succeeded Terence Blanchard in 1986. Later in the 1980s and early 1990s, Roney was an integral part of Tony Williams's quintet. In 1991, Roney played with Miles Davis at the Montreux Jazz Festival. After Davis's passing that year, Roney toured in memoriam with Davis alumni Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Williams and recorded an album, "A Tribute to Miles", for which they won a Grammy. Wallace Roney has been an integral part of bands with Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, Philly Joe Jones, Walter Davis Jr., Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, Jay McShann, David Murray, and McCoy Tyner; as well as a featured as a soloist with Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins, Curtis Fuller, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Dizzy Gillespie. He was one of the most popular jazz sidemen in the music industry early into his professional career and is one of the few musicians in his generation who learned and perfected his craft directly from alliances with Jazz Masters.

Roney recorded his debut album as a leader, "Verses", on Muse Records in 1987. A number of albums on Muse, Warner Bros. Records and Concord Records/Stretch Records followed and by the time he turned 40 in 2000 Roney had been documented on over 250 sound recordings. His two most recent albums are "Mystikal" and "Jazz", recorded in 2005 and 2007 respectively for HighNote Records.

Roney is married to pianist Geri Allen; they live in Montclair, New Jersey. [ [http://www.nj.com/greatday/stories/more.html The State of Jazz: Meet 40 More Jersey Greats] , "The Star-Ledger", September 28, 2004]

Father: Wallace Roney - U.S. Marshall, President, American Federation of Government Employees Local 102

Grandfather: Philadelphia musician, Roosevelt Sherman

Movie Credits

2001 - "The Visit" - Jordan Walker-Perlman - Music Arrangement1996 - "Love Jones" - Music Arrangement

Informal Notations:"Mo' Better Blues" - [falsely rumored to be the inspiration for the character - Denzel Washington studied Wallace Roney for six months when preparing for the part. As Roney received no credit or appreciable honor from the Spike Lee production team.]

"Pulp Fiction" - Quentin Tarantino, an avid fan, rumored to have incorporated and fused American Jazz iconic names Wallace Roney and Wynton Marsalis into the lead character Marsellus Wallace.


External links

* [http://www.wallaceroney.net/ WallaceRoney.net] - the original unofficial fan site
* [http://www.wallaceroney.com/ Official site]
* [http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/musician.php?id=3905] - All About Jazz
* [http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=19714] - Fulfilling the Promise
* [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4072431] - Following in Miles Davis' Footsteps
* [http://arts.enotes.com/contemporary-musicians/roney-wallace-biography] - Enote Biography

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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