The North Carolina Central University Department of Music Jazz Studies program will host the 15th Annual Fall Guest Artist series with composer and trumpeter Wallace Roney at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 21 in the B.N. Duke Auditorium. The Phillip O. Berry High School Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of NCCU music alumnus Walter Suggs will also perform.
At just 4 years of age, Roney was found to have perfect pitch and began studying at the Philadelphia Settlement School of Music, the largest community school of the arts in the United States. At seven, he began studying with trumpeter Sigmund Hering of the Philadelphia Orchestra. At 14 he made his recording debut and by 16 had earned the admiration and respect of musical greats including: Art Blakey, Herbie Hancock, Sonny Rollins, Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Dizzy Gillespie.
In 1983, Roney caught the attention of the incomparable Miles Davis when he performed at Davis’ birthday gala at Carnegie Hall. Davis would later mentor Roney before inviting him to perform with him at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1991.
After the death of Davis, Roney completed a world tribute tour to Davis with Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Wayne Shorter and Tony Williams and recorded an album, A Tribute to Miles, for which they won a Grammy Award.
He has recorded more than 17 CDs as a band leader and been featured on another 10. In 2000 it was documented that Roney had appeared on more than 250 audio recordings.
Roney will also give a free master class and lecture at noon on Friday, Nov. 21 in the jazz band room (B.N. Duke). The lecture is free and open to the public. Tickets for the guest artist series are $15 general public and $5 for students with ID.