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Jaazz Spotlight

July 24, 1994|DON HECKMAN



Warner Bros.

* * 1/2

The perplexing problem facing trumpeter Wallace Roney has been the sometimes misleading, sometimes accurate comparison of his playing with Miles Davis. His work within the Davis tribute ensemble and its subsequent recording has only tended to underscore the dilemma.

Unfortunately, despite the excellence of Roney's playing, most of the tracks here won't do much to relieve the Davis connections. Pieces such as "Last to Know," "Meu Menino," "Muerte," "In Her Family" and the title number resonate with Davis sounds. Many of the arrangements, mainly provided by Gil Goldstein, have the lush, shimmering qualities that Gil Evans employed for his collaborations with Davis.

To Roney's credit, he still attempts to hold his own. The brilliantly burnished lines on most of his improvised solos may be Davis-influenced, but their substance is all Roney, willfully stretching the envelope of the style both technically and aesthetically.

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good, recommended), four stars (excellent).

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