Trombonist Wayne Wallace is one of the most melodic players on his instrument. And although he might inhabit a somewhat narrow rangeeschewing the very high registerhe 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 a seemingly endless stream of linear inventions around the melodic lines. He darts ahead and draws down as he plays behind the melody at other times and his variations are full of unparalleled surprise throughout.
On his celebrated To Hear From There, Wallace leads his extraordinary quintet on a superlative musical journey through the lively waters of the Afro-Caribbean ocean, often raising the harmonic bar several notches with the help of the incredible pianist, Murray Low
, who appears to have the energy and invention to match the trombonist. It is an almost mystical union of souls, and almost every song bursts with the elasticity and unforgettable engagements that trombonist and pianist bring to bear on the music, as they pursue each other from chorus to chorus. Low also has that elusive rhythmic sense, what is known in Afro-Caribbean music as tumbao, with a left hand that electrifies the rhythms of son as he ebbs and flows through songs like "İBebo Ya Llego!," as well as in the thick fluidity of "Descarga En Blue."
The character of the music on charts such as "Ogguere (Soul of the Earth)" and "Yemaya (The Seven Seas)" also suggests the absolute reverence with which Wallace approaches his music. In many respects that belies a deep connection with his African roots. There is also a groundswell of emotion in Wallace's playing, capping the sensuous and dancing tone that seems to emerge from a deeply aching or joyous soul which simmers when playing Janice "Ms. JJ" Johnson
's beautiful "Lament," and leaps ecstatically on songs like "La Escuela" and "Serafina Del Caribe." His mood draws in the other players like a gilt-edged magnet, and thus the percussionists Paul van Wageningen
's "Perdido," and makes it quite his own as does that force of nature, vocalist Bobi Céspedes, who also ignites the lyrics of "The Peanut Vendor (El Manicero)," which has been done so often, yet is made new on this album. Wayne Wallace has earned many accolades for this album and, judging by the performance, all are richly deserved.
Track Listing: La Escuela; Serafina Del Caribe; Perdido; Los Gatos; Descarga En Blue; Ogguere (Soul of the Earth); Lament; The Peanut Vendor (El Manicero); Yemaya (The Seven Seas); İBebo Ya Llego!; Philadelphia Mambo.
Personnel: Wayne Wallace: trombone, Wagner Tuba, vocals; Murray Low: piano, vocals; David Belove: bass, vocals; Paul van Wageningen: trap drums, vocals; Michael Spiro: percussion, vocals; Kenny Washington: lead vocal (3); Bobi Céspedes: lead vocal (8); Jeff Cressman: trombone (2); Natalie Cressman: trombone (2); Dave Martell: trombone (2).