Trombonist Wayne Wallace and his Latin Jazz Ensemble have a well-oiled record-making machine that seems incapable of turning out a subpar album.Therein lies the mystery. The ingredients that Wallace and his bandmates pour into the machine are eminently predictable--a studiously well-sampled array of Latin rhythms, didactically specified in the liner notes; a mixture of strong original compositions and Latin settings of jazz standards; tight ensemble playing by the quintet with plenty of space to breathe; a smattering of tasteful contributions by guest artists. The wonder is that this recipe, trotted out more or less annually, loses none of ...read more
Trombonist/composer Wayne Wallace and his music could probably be characterized by any number of clichéd phrases, but why use a cliché when the truth will do. The truth is that Wayne Wallace's To Hear From There is a far better record than its Grammy-nominated predecessor, ¡Bien Bien! (Patois, 2009), and that's saying a lot. Wallace's greatest gift to the music on To Hear From There is that he approaches it respectfully. Wallace, an American man of African ancestry, performs Latin jazz as though it's his birthright. Not in the sense that he sounds as though he feels entitled to anything, ...read more
Trombonist Wayne Wallace is one of the most melodic players on his instrument. And although he might inhabit a somewhat narrow range--eschewing the very high register--he is also one of today's most expressive trombonists. His husky tone is one of a kind and gives his playing tremendous character. Moreover, he is one of the few players who comfortable in virtually every idiom, and this is something unique as it enables him to extend his playing with subtle changes in rhythmic accents and phrasing. As someone who loves simply to dance around the melody of songs, he is able to create ...read more
I have had the honor of performing on four Grammy-nominated recordings. Mister E, by Pete Escovedo, S.F. Bay, by the Machete Ensemble, Then Some, by Steve Berrios, and Far East Suite, by Anthony Brown and the Asian American Orchestra. This was my second time being a part of a Grammy presentation, but my first as the leader of a nominated project, let alone as a presenter for the Pre-Telecast Awards ceremony. I arrived at LAX on Saturday afternoon, checked in at the Biltmore hotel and immediately prepared to attend the nominees' reception. Beautiful starlit warm evening, first ...read more
Trombonist and composer Wayne Wallace knows how to have fun, and on the delightfully upbeat To Hear From There his Latin Jazz Quintet makes that fun leap out of the speakers. The group--Grammy-nominated for 2009's ¡Bien Bien! (Patois Records)--is energetic and exceptionally tight. Wallace leads this fine and funky band through a selection of tunes that combine Latin, African and West Coast styles to create a mix of tunes that swings and grooves from start to finish. Across the album the percussion playing of Paul van Wageningen and Michael Spiro is central to the music's sensuality. The ...read more
Wayne Wallace continues to explore the infectious Afro-Cuban rhythms on To Here From There, the follow-up to his 2010 Grammy-nominated album, Bien Bien! (Patois Record, 2009).Wallace is a trombonist with vast experience that includes collaborations with artists such as Count Basie, Joe Henderson, Lionel Hampton, Sonny Rollins and Tito Puente. Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet plays like they were born in Cuba.The danceable La Escuela" with its piano montuno and the distinctive clave of the Cuban son is dedicated to La Escuela Nacional de las Artes en Cuba, where Wallace studied in the 1990s.Wallace shares ...read more
San Francisco-area trombonist Wayne Wallace is known for his Grammy-nominated forays into Afro-Cuban music, and on the surface, To Hear From There is another Latin jazz album. But mixed with the danceable, percussion-heavy rhythms and exuberant melodies, with a touch of melancholy, are complex, improvised solos that would delight even a jazz purist. The improvised give-and-take between pianist Murray Low and percussionist Michael Spiro, at the beginning of Tito Puente's classic Philadelphia Mambo," is as angular and free-sounding as any advanced bop solo, while Wallace's growling, bottom-heavy yet quite melodic improvisations on most of the tracks--particularly his ...read more
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