Wayne Wallace has a passion for the interplay of a quintet, whether it’s
only two members of the group or all five. His passion comes through
clearly on To Hear from There.
Wallace formed his own label, Patois Records, in 2006. Big record
companies don’t invest much in jazz or Latin music, so he thought doing it
himself would be the best way to get his music across to the general
Doing it himself gives Wallace freedom to play the music that moves him,
rather than conforming to commercial forces that often dictate the
contents and even the approach to more mainstream genres. His sidemen are
Michael Spiro on percussion, David Belove on bass, Murray Low on piano and
Paul van Wageningen on drums.
“Serafina Del Caribe” is bound to get the feet moving. The throaty
trombone phrasing is just part of the joy of listening to this. Wallace
makes the instrument growl through one sequence. The title is derived from
the influence of artwork that depicts angels playing trombones, popular in
Spain and Latin America. Additional trombones are played by Jeff Cressman,
Dave Martell and Natalie Cressman.
Kenny Washington sings lead on the adaptation of “Perdido,” originally
penned by Puerto Rican trombonist Juan Tizol and recorded by Duke
Ellington. The title word is Spanish for “lost,” but nothing gets lost
here. Washington’s voice is smooth and maintains a straight jazz element
despite the Latin rhythm. After an extended piano solo, Washington
performs a scat worthy of Ella Fitzgerald or Louis Prima.
Wallace’s !Bien, Bien! was nominated for a Grammy award and named
one of 2010’s best releases by DownBeat magazine. Again blending jazz with
Afro-Cuban themes and Latin influences, Wallace scores another hit with
To Hear from There.