With hardly a week going by in which we don’t lose a venerable musician, it may be natural to wonder whether the art form will wither. That is unlikely. New players emerge and enrich the music. It is rare, however, that they emerge quite as young as Kojo Roney of the Philadelphia Roneys. He is the son of tenor saxophonist Antoine and a nephew of trumpeter Wallace. He plays drums. He is nine years old. He recently sat in for Al Foster at the Village Vanguard in New York. Although the rest of the group is muffled in this video, young Mr. Roney is not. The piece he plays with the unidentified musicians is Victor Feldman’s “Seven Steps to Heaven.”
One observer at the Vanguard speculated that Kojo Roney is channeling Tony Williams (1945-1997), who made the original recording of “Seven Steps to Heaven” with Miles Davis in 1963. It will be interesting to see how Kojo develops.