Wallace Roney is one of those elder statesmen of the trumpet that still gets up on the bandstand week after week and proves to audiences night after night why we pair his name with such respect. Roney takes the idea of innovation in music very seriously and as we prepare for his run at Smalls Jazz Club this week, we’re taking a look at some words of wisdom that Mr. Roney has shared with us in the past.


Photo by Eric Waters

On Innovation in Music:

“What I mean by innovation is learning the greatest innovations that have happened in this music and then using that and adding to it. In my opinion innovation is about imagining the possibilities of what can happen or what can be played. No matter how great you can play an instrument there is always something else that can be done or that can happen with the music. A musician should always be ready to try something new. You should never take away from what is there, but add to it.

I always believe you play the way you play because you choose to play that way, not because that’s the only way you know how to play. You try to take everything that has happened in the past further. You try to see if you can take it to the next level.”

On Play On “the Edge”:

“The edge for me is the unknown of what I can do. It is not an edge that someone can point out. It is the spiritual edge, to go places that you can only imagine or that you attempting and trying to reach. It is like trying to play a phrase that you hear in your head but you have never practiced before. But because you practice the instrument and you are one with it, you know your instrument well enough to attempt to conquer what you hear in your mind. You don’t even know if you’re going to make it. Sometimes you make it and sometimes you don’t.  You ask yourself, “What is that sound I am looking for?” You ask yourself, “How high can I reach?”

I encourage the younger guys to reach for that next thing. I want you to learn all of the history, but then I want you to reach for that next thing.”

Vince Wilburn Interviews Wallace Roney

When Vince Wilburn, Miles Davis’ nephew, and Wallace Roney get together to talk, you know you’re going to get some great stories and some even better insights. We got the two connoisseurs of music to record a special conversation for us a while back. Check it out here:


10/23-24: The Wallace Roney Quintet at Smalls Jazz Club

Time: 9:30 PM to 12:00 AM

Wallace Roney – Trumpet
Ben Solomon – Tenor Sax
Victor Gould – Piano
Eric Wheeler – Bass
Kush Abadey – Drums


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