Wallace Roney – Stand, Blu-ray (2006/2012)
Performers: Wallace Roney, trumpet; Antoine Roney, saxes and bass clarinet; Robert Irving, keyboards; Clarence Seay, bass; Val Jeanty, turntables; Eric Allen, drums
Program: Stargazer, Invader Time, Let’s Stay Together, Quadrant, Metropolis, Prototype, Stand, Just My Imagination
Studio: AIX Records 85055 [Distr. by Naxos]
Video: HD Video 1080i
Audio: PCM Audio (96 kHz/24-bits); Dolby 5.1 TrueHD “Stage” Mix Perspective; Dolby 5.1 TrueHD “Audience” Mix Perspective; Dolby 5.1 Digital (Stage and Audience Perspective); 96 kHz/24-bit 2.0 PCM Stereo; No dynamic processing/ no EQ/ no artificial reverb
Length: 84:00 +3 minutes of extras
Ratings: Video ****1/2 Audio ***** Music ***1/2
Back in 2006, Wallace Roney’s sister contacted Mark Waldrep, owner of AIX Records, to inquire about Wallace doing a recording session. Roney was curious about recording in HD-Audio, with 5.1 mixing. Waldrep agreed to the project and on Dec. 20, 2006, Stand was recorded using HD recording equipment and HD cameras, utilizing 5.1 surround sound.
As usual, the video and audio quality on Stand are beyond excellent. You will find no better audio and video quality on a Wallace Roney recording. All the members of Roney’s band with the exception of the turntable artist, Val Jeanty, have been with Wallace for many years, with Antoine, Clarence and Eric having a very long tenure. That leaves the evaluation of this Blu- ray to the music itself.
Stand opens with “Stargazer,” a Roney original. It has a hip-hop break beat and Antoine Roney on soprano sax has a great solo that is flute-like. Eric Allen is featured with lots of fills and Jeanty’s “scratches” on the turntable were more distracting than adding to the mix.
Clarence Seay’s funky bass line and Eric Allen’s percussive drumming provided the beat for the “rap to this” horn lines from the two Roneys on “Invader Time.” Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” has Irving playing Rhodes’ keyboard lines that alternate between chords and spacey single notes that give the tune a cross between fusion and a Latinesque feel.
“Quadrant” brings to mind a Headhunters’ vibe and Wallace is at his most Miles-like as he moves in and out of the dominant rhythm. “Metropolis” has a bop like beginning and drummer Allen is featured, whereas Jeanty’s scratching seems a bit out of place. “Prototype” is a special track with some lovely melancholy trumpet by Wallace, while his brother has a beautiful tenor sax solo. Jeanty’s work on the turntable fits in here nicely. This was perhaps the most “conventional” jazz track of the session.
The title cut has Irving playing very funky keyboard lines and Wallace’s arrangement of this well-known Sly Stone classic breaks out of the jazz idiom-taking a “stand” perhaps? – as Seay’s bass line and Irving’s chords bring to mind early DJ Shadow. Another classic soul tune, “Just My Imagination” concludes our “in house” concert with moody bass clarinet from Antoine Roney, and melodic trumpet from Wallace as the song builds up in intensity.
Wallace Roney has been aptly compared to Miles Davis in his tone and timbre, and he shares Miles’ vision of being on the cutting edge of mixing musical genres. You will certainly fit that on this Blu-ray disc. For those that dig the entrée into hip-hop and fusion, you will dig Stand. The superb sound and crystal clear HD video will just be frosting on the cake.
—Jeff Krow, with able assistance from Daniel Krow
If any recording is essential to the genre, this is it.