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CATCHING UP WITH

Trombonist Wayne Wallace racking up Grammy nods with distinctive record label

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Usually when a musician starts a record label, it's with no intent beyond releasing his own music. Not so with San Francisco-based trombonist Wayne Wallace. Since forming Patois Records (Motto: “Promoting improvisation") more than a decade ago, Wallace has used the label as a vehicle to promote both his own Latin jazz work and music of fellow free spirits performing everything from salsa to big-band jazz. Along the way, the label has picked up a handful of Grammy nominations, including ...

BEST OF / YEAR END

James Nadal's Best Releases of 2016

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Having had the honor and pleasure to review over eighty records in 2016, choosing a dozen is a difficult task. There are featured blues and soul vocalists, which are maintaining the significance of these genres alive with the authentic talent and dedication required. Included are stimulating offerings from innovative fusion and experimental artists, as well as diverse instrumental and vocal performances from Africa and the Caribbean. My sincere appreciation to all the musicians, producers, promoters, publicists and friends who send ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Spiro/Wayne Wallace: Canto América

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The historical evolution of the Caribbean Basin and specifically the Greater Antilles, has been over five hundred years in the making. The triangular connections between Europe, Africa, and the New World with its ensuing social and economic constraints, established the conditions for an innovative culture in the region. The enculturation process led to the creolization of the music and the creation of hybrid religions as Santeria in Cuba, and Voudou in what was then Hispaniola (Saint-Domingue), adding an intriguing dimension ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet: Intercambio

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The music that commenced as accompaniment to ancestral rituals and gained its popularity in dancehalls and ballrooms, has come of age. Latin infused jazz, has been steadily evolving since the African drums came to the Caribbean, and melded with European musical influences. Trombonist, composer, arranger, and producer Wayne Wallace is aptly tuned into this evolutionary process and presents Intercambio, a cross cultural interaction of musical counterpoint. With his Latin Jazz Quintet--and its exemplary members--Wallace has taken a sophisticated ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wayne Wallace: Latin Jazz Jazz Latin

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet: To Hear From There

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet: To Hear From There

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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 ...

IN THE ARTIST'S OWN WORDS

Wayne Wallace: The Thrill of the Grammys

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet: To Hear From There

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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. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wayne Wallace: To Hear From There

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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 ...