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In Memory of Wallace Roney

Posted on Facebook by Christine Santelli May 26, 2020

Today we celebrate Wallace Roney’s birthday, Wallace’s manager approached me early on when we first opened. I was intimidated, but Landton Malone and Wallace Roney were a dream for me. I got to know Landton and Wallace over those few months and we loved those 4 days of his residency together.
( Winter Jazz Fest January. January 11th – January 14th 2020)

From the first day, Wallace treated me with such respect and taught me so much during those 4 days. He was a teacher to all of us. He cared so much about his band he wanted us all to feel and share his passion and respect the musicians that had come before, who paved the way.

“…Wallace is not bashful in sharing his thoughts about his band. “Malick is becoming one of the most open and forward-thinking drummers, and he’s from Africa, so he adds a direct African influence to this music,” the trumpeter says. “Paul continually gets a beautiful sound on the bass. Oscar is one of those people who reminds me of Thelonious Monk: He’s got a different wrinkle in his playing. He loves Monk, McCoy and Keith. And Emilio is one of the best young tenor players today. He’s setting standards now. That’s what I think of those guys; but collectively, they are of one mind, and that’s what I instill in those guys: Take your individual talents and make it collective—one mind.”
Hot House Magazine

“….Those young musicians look up to Wallace as a leader in the same way the trumpeter looked up to Miles. “He said I looked at him the way he looked at Dizzy. He said me and him were like Louis Armstrong and King Oliver,” Wallace says. “I definitely benefited from playing with and being around great musicians like Miles, Ornette, Art Blakey and Horace Silver…”

Google Maps had contacted me about doing a piece on the club and Wallace graciously agreed, he came to the club and performed for 4 hours during the shoot and then put on 2 spectacular shows that night. Talk about stamina, passion he was a force of nature.
For those that were there that day got to see this man in all his greatness.

““Café Bohemia was important to Miles Davis,” Wallace says. “He did those Prestige recordings [Workin’, Steamin’, Relaxin’, and Cookin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet] while he was playing there. And the cover of his Columbia LP ’Round About Midnight was taken at the Bohemia. I wanted to play there because of the history of the club. I think it’s one of the most important clubs in history.”” – Hot House Magazine 2020

When the last day of his residency came, I was so sad, I cried, he cried, he had become family. We both agreed this is home. When would he be back? He said, “Miles and my birthday are only one day apart, I think that would be a great time to come back.”

Unfortunately Wallace passed away March 31st, from complication of the virus. He would have been 60 years old today, celebrating his and Miles’s Birthday performing at Cafe Bohemia.

I am so thankful for my time with him. I know he is up there with all the greats blowing his horn, and smiling.

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