Trumpeter Wallace Roney has spent most of his career deflecting the complaint that he too closely mirrors his model, Miles Davis--an odd criticism given that Davis's music is still relevant and virtually no one else concentrates on his seminal mid-60s playing style. On Roney's most recent album, last year's Prototype (HighNote), he incorporated electronic instruments--an innovation associated with Davis--and though the concept could've provided more grist for his critics, I imagine the music itself silenced them. His best work in years, the record ripples with hip-hop grooves and smart synth colors, alternating with acoustic textures and fine interplay between Roney and his brother, saxist Antoine. That's the music--augmented by turntablist DJ Val--Roney presented earlier this month at the South Shore Cultural Center, but even those who caught that gig have an incentive to hear him again: this time his group features pianist Robert Glasper, a marvelously mature 26-year-old who'll be making his Chicago debut. Lionized by the New York press and with his debut album on Blue Note due in October, Glasper is among the legions of skilled and inventive young keyboardists raised on both jazz and hip-hop. He's already addressed the harmonic and rhythmic innovations of fellow Houstonian Jason Moran (who's only four years his senior) and folded them into a style that also takes cues from Mulgrew Miller and Keith Jarrett. Look for Glasper to contribute to the imminent explosion of piano jazz this decade. See also Saturday. Fri 8/26, 9 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway, 773-878-5552, $15.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Michael Jackson.