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Wallace Roney at the Kennedy Center Jazz Club

Near the end of Miles Davis' career, he gave young Wallace Roney the gift of a trumpet. That blue horn — yes, silvery blue — has engaged in a lot of serious music-making, first with Davis and now with Roney as a solo act.

Roney opens his sets saying, "We don't talk much." He then plays generously with a sweet, clear tone and great control, spinning phrases into moods. He gives you the melody, then rephrases from new directions and finally slices and dices with musical logic before he puts it back together again (or hands off to the next soloist). Clear-thinking at every speed, Wallace plays with a furrowed-brow seriousness that makes you keep your distance. When it's over, he flashes a wide smile that melts the distance away. Roney's latest CD is titled Jazz (High Note).

At the Kennedy Center, the band includes Val Jeanty on turntables, weaving shreds of music and voices from her great LP collection into the mix. She is deft, edging her samples into the cracks, adding new references and emotions.

Pianist Robert Irving III worked closely with Davis in the 1980s. The Chicagoan has his own 2007 album, New Momentum.

Copyright 2007 WBGO