The Standard Bearer
An indisputably hip album from the late ‘80s, trumpeter Roney, tenorist Gary Thomas, pianist Mulgrew Miller, bassist Charnett Moffett, and super-charged drummer Cindy Blackman fire off some up-tempo standards with minimum emotion and maximum attitude; sourness, disinterested aggression, and the avoidance of melodic or harmonic cliché are the order of the day. The slower numbers, by contrast, are less distinctive but more readily approachable. Roney does sound like Miles (on Miles Smiles), as people always say, and Thomas’ snarling tone, although utterly unique, is quite possibly absurd. But regardless of any qualms you might have, the results are certainly compelling.