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SEPTEMBER 11 & 12
While Wallace Roney might want to bust some lip over critics constantly comparing him to Miles Davis, the truth is he often recalls the Dark Magus. The resemblance is not in his playing, (while Roney touches on everyone from Davis to Fats Navarro to Clifford Brown, his rich, thick tone is all his own), but in his ability to assemble a distinctive group and then blend almost into the background, as did Davis. Roney’s latest, Village, features drummer Lenny White, bassist Clarence Seay, and a revolving lineup that includes keyboardists Chick Corea, Robert Irving III, and Geri Allen (Roney’s wife, pictured at right), saxophonists Michael Brecker, Pharoah Sanders, and Antoine Roney (his brother), and percussionist Steve Barrios. Though he contributes only four originals to Village, Roney surrounds himself with standards (Cole Porter’s “I Love You,” Joe Henderson’s “Inner Urge”) and contributions from his sidemen (Corea’s “Affinity,” White’s “Ebo,” his sibling’s “Aknaaba”) that fit his concept “to counterpoint African rhythms with hard jazz rhythms, in order to keep progressing.” The players absolutely shine in the elastic arrangements Roney patterns after Davis’ Nefertiti. (Hey, Roney says so himself!) His honey, Allen, keeps progressing with her latest, Eyes…in the Back of Your Head, an evocative series of solos, duets, and trios without bass or drums. Roney and Allen return with his quintet to the town where the couple met as Howard students in the mid-’70s. At 8 & 10 p.m. Thursday & next Friday at Blues Alley, 1073 Rear Wisconsin Ave. NW. $18. (202) 337-4141. (Christopher Porter)