Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet
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Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet

Palo Alto, California, United States | INDIE

Palo Alto, California, United States | INDIE
Band Jazz Latin


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Wayne Wallace, the Bay Area based trombonist, is poised for national exposure. He has led big bands, but has concentrated his recording efforts largely on Latin/ Cuban based jazz expressions. He has recorded several CDs for Patois Records and his latest effort ¡Bien Bien! has the added benefit of special guests, the legendary trombonist, Julian Priester, as well as vocalist, Kenny Washington.

For Latin jazz newcomers, Patois has been kind enough to indicate on the song titles the genre of Latin jazz being covered - whether it is Bomba, Bolero, Cha-Cha-Cha, or Cu-bop. I had the privilege to catch Wayne’s set with a larger aggregation at this year’s Monterey Jazz Festival, and felt that Wallace deserved a better venue than the chaotic Garden Stage provided at Monterey.

His latest CD opens with the title cut. The trombone blend is striking here. Murray Low’s sparkling piano accompaniment sets the mood for the horns and percussion of Spiro and van Wageningen to open up the “feel good” vibe. Try keeping your head still when listening to this track - you won’t be successful. Eddie Harris’ classic Freedom Jazz Dance follows and is done as an Afro-Puerto Rican Bomba with both English and Spanish lyrics. Wallace’s trombone has a swagger that reminds me of Frank Lacy, the ace trombonist with the Mingus Big Band, as they both roam the stage, spurring on their bands to new heights.

Mojito Café is dedicated to vibist Cal Tjader and conguero Armando Peraza, who were both based in the Bay Area during the time when the city’s North Beach area was the home of the major jazz scene in San Francisco, and boasted the Keystone Korner, The El Matador, and The Jazz Workshop - now all sadly lamented. The percussion mix of Mojito Café is an addicting cocktail. Murray Low again shines on his solo.

Building Bridges blends Puerto Rico, Havana, and the Latin scene in New York City. It stars the ensemble playing of the various trombones. Ellington’s In a Sentimental Mood follows and shows Wallace is unafraid to tackle mainstream jazz as Wayne’s muted trombone is spot perfect in setting an elegant Bolero mood. Playa Negra celebrates its namesake beach in Costa Rica and the cha-cha-cha percussion in this track written by Wallace puts Wayne in the mood to blow to our heart’s content. The dance floor would fill up rapidly to its beat when played live.

Another Ellington composition, Going Up! gets a triple trombone mix with Wallace, Priester, and Dave Martell honoring Duke’s dream ‘bone section of Lawrence Brown, Sam Nanton, and the inimitable Juan Tizol. It is one of the highlights of this CD.

Sonny Rollins’ Solid gets a Wallace ride done Afro-Cuban style. Wayne’s joyful solo sets the stage for more piano excellence from Murray Low. This cat has the Latin vibe down pat. Coltrane’s Africa closes out the CD and is given the intensity that this composition deserves. It is dedicated to Ron Stallings, a veteran Bay Area sax player, who played both jazz and rock with major Bay Area bands, and sadly passed away this past April from cancer.

The Latin Jazz Corner, a Bay Area Latin jazz blog recently picked ¡Bien Bien! as their album of the week. Hopefully, Wayne Wallace’s new CD will help Wayne get more exposure in other parts of the country where the groove of Latin jazz gets the appreciation that it deserves. Bien hecho!

TrackList: ¡Bien bien!, Freedom Jazz Dance, Mojito Café, Building Bridges, In A Sentimental Mood, Playa Negra, Going Up!, Solid, Africa

- Jeff Krow


As the light on Post Street slowly started to dim, a quick glance at the San Jose Jazz Festival’s Latin Stage would have revealed a few of the same faces from John Calloway’s set earlier in the day. But the similarities between that band and Wayne Wallace’s Latin Jazz Quintet pretty much stop there. Bringing a heavy clave beat and a funky attitude, Wallace’s band made it clear from the first note that they were here to get down. NOW.

Wallace’s quintet is like an elite commando unit: lean, mean and packing some serious heat. Drummer Paul Van Wageningen, percussionist Michael Spiro and bassist Dave Belove locked together in an impenetrable wall of rhythm, with a bass thump loud enough to be felt in the granite and steel columns of the surrounding buildings. Wallace surfed over all this with a pan-Caribbean fluidity — part Cuba and part New Orleans, speaking of both the music’s African roots and its 21st century urban reality.
When the band suddenly shifted from dance grooves to the introduction of “A Love Supreme,” then segued through a low, swamp-creep version of “So What” and into “Softly as in a Morning Sunrise,” the whole thing seemed perfectly natural. And when somewhere in the middle of it all, unnanounced guest Steve Turre suddenly appeared on stage and began to play, nobody batted an eyelash. Bay Area audiences know to expect something special when Wayne Wallace is on stage.

Turre and Wallace took a gorgeous plunger-mute duet on “In a Sentimental Mood” that hushed the large crowd, then Doug Beavers showed up, trombone in hand, and two became three for an all-star jam session that would have raised the roof, had there been one.

Later, Wallace mentioned that a version of the Latin Jazz Quintet “on steroids” is scheduled to appear at the Monterey Jazz Festival next month. Mark your calendars now folks, and hold on to your hats. - From "The Jazz Observer" By Forrest Dylan Bryant · August 8, 2009


Wayne Wallace Three In One
Wayne Wallace Echoes In Blue
Wayne Wallace Dedication
Wayne Wallace The Reckless Search For Beauty
Wayne Wallace The Nature Of The Beat
The Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet Infinity
The Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet ¡Bien Bien!
The Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet From Hear to There



Three-time Grammy nominee, Wayne Wallace, is one of
the more respected exponents of African American-Latin
music in the world today. He is known for the use of
traditional forms and styles in combination with
contemporary music, and has earned recognition with his
recent placement in the Downbeat Critics Polls under
the trombone and producer categories.

Mr. Wallace is an accomplished arranger, educator, and
composer with compositions for film and television. He
has also received grants form the Creative Work Fund, the
National Endowments for the Arts, the Lila Wallace
Foundation, and the San Francisco Arts Commission.

Mr. Wallace has performed, recorded and studied with
acknowledged masters of the Afro-Latin and Jazz idioms
such as Aretha Franklin, Bobby Hutcherson, Earth Wind
and Fire, Pete Escovedo, Santana, Julian Priester,
Conjunto Libre, Whitney Houston,Tito Puente, Steve
Turre, John Lee Hooker, Con-funk-shun, Francisco
Aguabella, Manny Oquendo and Libre, Max Roach, and
Orestes Vilató. This experience has provided a solid
foundation for Mr. Wallace's current explorations of the
intersections of diverse cultural styles, and rhythmic

Born and raised in San Francisco, California, May 29th
1952, at an early age Wayne was exposed to Blues,
Country and Western, and Jazz . The fertile musical
environment of the San Francisco Bay Area shaped his
career in a unique way. His studies of Afro-Latin music
and Jazz have included several trips to Cuba, New York,
and Puerto Rico.

Mr. Wallace is widely respected as a teacher and
historian and is currently an instructor at San Jose State
University, Stanford University and the Jazzschool in
Berkeley. He has conducted lectures, workshops and
clinics in the Americas and Europe since 1983. Currently
he is a member of the Advisory Committee of the San
Jose Jazz Society.

As the head of his own record label, Patois Records,
Wayne has created a unique company with a
passionate mission of developing and chronicling the
multi-lingual styles of the San Francisco Bay Area
music scene. Patois Records is gaining attention in the
industry and internationally. Under his direction the
label has released 9 different recordings to critical
acclaim. The labels oeuvre currently contains
recordings by Mr. Wallace, Marc and Paul van
Wageningen, vocalists Kat Parra, Alexa Weber
Morales, and Kristina. Wayne is an endorsee of Conn-
Selmer trombones.