On his seventh date as a leader, trumpeter Wallace Roney is clearly shaking the comparisons to Miles Davis, even while covering some of the same ground as the late jazz legend. Backed by his talented wife, Geri Allen (who is a gifted composer and adventurous bandleader herself), bassist Christian McBride, and first-call drummer Kenny Washington, Roney's fresh look at Davis' "Solar" is well worth investigating, while the spirited rendition of Charlie Parker's "Ah-Leu-Cha" features Washington driving the leader and guest tenor saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, while adding some wild arco bass by McBride.
Vibraphonist Dave Pike's debut for Muse (which has been reissued on CD) has generally strong individual playing although the material (five group originals plus a brief version of the bop standard "Wee") and use of electronics sound a bit dated. Pike teams up with keyboardist Tom Ranier (who also plays some alto and tenor), guitarist Ron Eschete, either Luther Hughes or Harvey Newmark on bass, drummer Ted Hawke and (on three of the six numbers) guitarist Kenny Burrell. Nothing all that memorable occurs during this lesser effort.
These elements [i.e. a rather zany sense of homour and an oblique, Monk-like compositional sense, which often makes use of folk and popular elements in a highly original way] are in place again on Out Of The Tradition. Walrath opens "Out Of This World" with a strange North African scale and non-tempered sounds blown on a detached trumpet mouthpiece. There are hints of Coltrane's version in what follows, but they are used as stepping stones, not as a final destination. Walrath has located his playing outside the tradition and is constantly working towards points of departure. That is dramatized in Mingus's "So Long, Eric," on which Coryell and Green play a large part, and it comes across in the cod Bach of "Wake Up And Wash It Off," a pun too complicated to merit unpicking here. Walrath's now regular Pops feature comes on "Cabin In The Sky," one of his best recent performances, and he then drops back into gentler mode for "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You." It's done no harm to doff the cap-and-bells for a while; this is a terrific jazz album.
Liquid Phase is not a regular musician, the way he controls musical chords is cheeky,
modern, outstanding and unique. On this debut album, Liquid Phase tries to touch some of the old school trance while mixing it to today's fast hi tech reality.
If you're going to pillage someone else's ideas, then go for broke. Because even if you find yourself crammed between the barriers of creative space, utterly at a loss for ideas, expression, or thought, you'd still have a self-respect buzzing in your ear like a mad angelic insect, putting down the newspaper and taking out a cigar to remind you that, hell, if want to sound like Radiohead when even Thom Yorke doesn't want to sound like Radiohead, you might as well take it to preposterous, bombastic, over-the-top levels. Add church organs, mental electronics, riffs bouncing off each other like the monolithic screams in 2001: A Space Odyssey, and you'll finally be in position to crack skulls like coconuts and make the world's speakers ooze gooey blood.
Bassist Buster Williams had one of his few opportunities to lead a record session on this diverse set which has been reissued on CD (with an alternate take of "I Dream Too Much" added to the original program). Of the six selections, Williams has a duet apiece with Kenny Barron (who plays electric piano), pianist Jimmy Rowles and vibraphonist Roy Ayers ("My Funny Valentine"). Two other numbers feature the quartet of Williams, Ayers, Barron and drummer Billy Hart while the leader's original "Prism" has the quartet joined by singer Suzanne Klewan and percussionist Nobu Urushiyama. The music ranges from slightly commercial to introspective and hard swinging, and its variety (plus an opportunity to hear bassist Williams in the lead) are two good reasons for postbop jazz collectors to pick up this CD.
In the early days of his career, trumpeter Wallace Roney was tagged as being yet another Miles Davis-influenced player, though a focused hearing of his fourth CD as a leader will demonstrate how much he was developing his own voice on this exciting hard bop session with tenor saxophonist Gary Thomas, pianist Donald Brown (like the leader, an alum of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers), bassist Christian McBride, and drummer Cindy Blackman. Roney's furious "Obsession" crackles with energy, showcasing the trumpeter, Thomas, and Brown. McBride contributed the loping, bluesy "Black Moon," while Blackman's "Scenario One" is full of twists, dominated by her drums.