Wayne Wallace: The Reckless Search for Beauty (2007)
Wallace brings his wide-ranging experience to a vibrant set that mixes Afro-Cuban music with funk and a myriad of Latin dance styles, plus R&B shadings, a dash of pop sensibility, and, always, a superb polyrhythmic drive.
The opener, "El Duende Africano," sets the tone: insistent and brassy over multiple percussion that bubbles and pops with an infectious, danceable vibrancy. "Paso a Paso" brings Dizzy Gillespie's Latin Big Band work to mind; and Bill Withers' rhythm and blues hit "Use Me" features a saucy, picante vocal by Alexa Weber Morales, mixing English and Spanish lyrics.
Mongo Santamaria's "Afro Blue" gets modernized with a deep bass groove and some soaring synth work in front of a multiple-bata rhythm section and a passionate, smooth-toned lead vocal by Alexa Weber Morales again, flying over some lush vocal harmonies. Duke Ellington's "Chromatic Love Affair" is done in a more mainstream mode; Murray Lowe provides a sparkling Duke-like piano behind Wallace's beautifully laid-back trombone solo and whispering flute.
This is a "put on your dancing shoes affair" for the most part, and Wayne Wallace displays a method behind his reckless search for musical beauty.
Track Listing: El Duende Africano; Paso a Paso; Use Me; Tune Up; Rhythm & Rhyme; Chromatic Love Affair; Nadie; Obatala/AfroBlue; La Encantadora; Esta Noche; El Rio de Oro.
Personnel: Wayne Wallace: tombone, spoken word (1); Alexa Weber Morales: vocals (1,3,5,7,8,11); John Santos: timbales bongo, bata, percussion; Michael Spiro: congas, bata, percussion; Paul Van Wageningen: trap drums; David Belove: bass; Murray Lowe: piano (1-6,8,9,10); Frank Martin: electric piano, synthesizer; David Yamasaki: guitar; Louis Fasman, John Worley: trumpet, flugelhorn; Melicio Magdaluya: saxes, flute; Ron Stallings: tenor sax. Special Guests: Ron Rollins: vocals: (3,5,8); Dave Martell: trombone (2,10); Kat Parra: vocals (1,3,5,8); Orlando Torriente: vocals (1,3,5,8); Sheryl Lynne-Wallace: vocals (1,3,8).
Record Label: Patois Records