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Album Review

Upon first listen to trumpeter Wallace Roney's Mystikal one might be inclined to marginalize it as yet another attempt to re-create '70s-era Miles Davis. This would be a mistake. While Roney has always owed a large debt to the iconic jazz innovator — he even played with Davis on a concert released as Miles & Quincy Live at Montreux — Mystikal is a modern album made up of vintage parts. Which is to say that while Roney has deep affection for the sounds of '60s jazz and '70s funk and fusion, he is a resolutely forward-thinking musician who borrows from a variety of sources and time periods even when the overall sound is funky. Featuring his longtime working band including pianist Geri Allen, brother saxophonist Antoine Roney, keyboardist Adam Holzman, bassist Matt Garrison, drummer Eric Allen, percussionist Bobby Thomas, Jr., and turntablist Val Jeanty, Roney has largely crafted a sister album to 2004's similarly minded Prototype. Like that album, Mystikal is in many ways a standard jazz album with some original compositions, a cover of a standard, and a lesser known piece by a well-known artist. This time around that artist is Wayne Shorter, whose "Atlantis" kicks off the album. An expansive and creepily funky piece off Shorter's underrated 1985 album of the same name, Roney turns the song into a moody mix of Miles in the Sky-esque post-bop, '80s hip-hop, and new age atmospherics. Similarly engaging is his melancholy cover of the Temptations classic "Just My Imagination," which draws out the deeper, more sanguine harmonics of the song even while it perfectly embodies the innocent romance of the original. Interestingly, Roney makes room for some straight-ahead but no less adventurous stuff here covering trumpeter Kenny Dorham's jaunty "Poetic" as well as ending with pianist Bud Powell's gorgeous ballad "I'll Keep Loving You." Roney's own compositions do not disappoint either with the hard funk of "Stargaze" and the elegiac "Baby's Breath" displaying the trumpeter's deft creative vision.

Customer Reviews

Wallace Roney's Mystikal

One of the best recording in the last few years. Wallace sounds great and the musical concept of this recording will keep you on the edge of your seat. Unlike so many of today recordings which I play once and never again. I find myself looking forward to hearing it this recording again and again. Vincent Herring Brooklyn NY


Born: May 25, 1960 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Wallace Roney's dilemma recalls that of Sonny Stitt in the '50s and '60s: his trumpet tone, timbre, approach, phrasing, and sound so closely mirror that of Miles Davis in his pre-jazz/rock phase that he's been savaged in many places for being a clone and unrepentant imitator. Stitt stopped playing alto for years because of his disdain for being labeled a Charlie Parker clone; Roney, on the other hand, played many of Miles Davis' parts on the 1992 tribute to the Birth of the Cool sessions, which was...
Full Bio
Mystikal, Wallace Roney
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  • $8.91
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Fusion
  • Released: Oct 01, 2005

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