trumpeter/composer WALLACE RONEY

Date: 

Thursday, November 6, 2014, 3:55pm

Location: 

Arts @ 29 Garden St.

wallace roneyPresented By Learning From Performers

One of the most in-demand trumpeters on the professional circuit, Wallace Roney holds the distinction of being the only trumpet player the legendary Miles Davis ever personally mentored. Their association peaked in 1991 when Roney was chosen by Davis to share the stage at his historic performance in Montreux, Switzerland. He will discuss his career and creative process during a conversation moderated by Ingrid Monson, Quincy Jones Professor of African American Music.

Wallace Roney will be a guest artist in "A Tribute to Miles Davis," a concert featuring the Harvard Jazz Bands on Saturday, November 8 at 8 pm in Lowell Hall, Kirkland and Oxford Streets, Cambridge. Tickets are $10, $8 for students and seniors, available through the Harvard Box Office and at the door.

A native of Philadelphia, Wallace Roney began playing the trumpet at age six and was awarded a scholarship to the Settlement School of Music. A child prodigy, by the age of 12 Roney became the youngest member of the Philadelphia brass ensemble, comprising members of the Philadelphia Orchestra. During his affiliation with the brass ensemble he met jazz great Clark Terry, who became a major influence, teacher, mentor and friend. After moving to Washington, DC, Roney attended the Duke Ellington School of the Arts where he studied the trumpet with Langston Fitzgerald, trumpeter with the Baltimore Symphony.

After Ellington, Roney attended Howard University and studied with Fred Irby. He remained at Howard for a year only to be called away to become a member of Art Blakey's Big Band. He also played with Joe Henderson, Dollar Brand and then studied for a year at Berklee School of Music before leaving to rejoin Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. Since playing with the Messengers, the list of people that Roney has played with is a veritable who's who of jazz. Too numerous to name, he likes to say that he has played with everyone from Jay McShann to Herbie Hancock.

In 1983 Roney met the greatest influence in his life, the person who was his idol and greatest teacher, Mile Davis. Roney's relationship with Davis was similar to Louis Armstrong's relationship with Joe (King) Oliver. Being with Davis gave Roney insight and tutelage on being a melodist, being on top of the most creative music, and uncompromisingly taking it further. In 1984 Roney met Ornette Coleman and performed in the premiere of his symphony "The Sacred Mind of Johnny Dolphin." He also played gigs with Coleman in his "Classic Quartet,” taking Don Cherry's place when he died.

Eventually, Miles Davis asked Roney to play with him in the historic "Miles at Montreux" concert–”the first time Davis had played straight ahead jazz in 30 years. The concert was recorded and won a Grammy Award. When Davis died in 1991, Roney joined what he considers to be the greatest group in history, VSOP, which included Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Tony Williams, and Wayne Shorter. It is with VSOP that Roney won his second Grammy. In 1996 he joined Chick Corea's "Special Quintet." Roney also played on Michael McDonald's record for which he won a Grammy for his solo in "Like a Child."

Roney formed his own group in 1993. Other than periodic special projects and playing intermittently with other all-star groups, he has been leading his band and is dedicated to continuing to add to the jazz music legacy.

Support for this program generously provided by the Bernard H. and Mildred Kayden Artist in Residence Fund.