There is a Bay area sound in Latin jazz and that sound is Wayne Wallace!
Brent Black / www.bop-n-jazz.com
Cal Tjader may be one of the god fathers of the Bay area Latin jazz scene but this is a musical hybrid that is a cultural celebration of the land of rhythm and groove. Wayne Wallace's To Hear From There is a celebratory clave driven cacophony of cultural enlightenment. In short, this is music you hear with your hips and listen to with your feet!
To Hear From There may be the epitome of the signature Bay area Latin sound as in embraces West African rhythms along with the traditional Afro-Cuban and western improvisational style we have come to refer to jazz but all with a smoldering dance oriented groove that is now directly associated with the San Francisco sound. There is a great deal going on here as an impressionistic open ended sound allows for deceptively subtle nuanced conversations between ensemble members and all with an intent lyrical focus. The jam sound associated with the rock group Santana is the percussive back bone here while the clave charged Latin sound from Brazil flows just below the surface of this visceral harmonic feast.
Wayne Wallace is a musical chameleon in this setting shifting his own distinctive style as needed while merging his lead role into a more unified ensemble approach. Similar Latin bands are stereotypically built around a similar virtuoso performed and a handful of afterthoughts, Wallace allow the artistic voice of each individual to move to the front and direct traffic while the others follow suit. It is this lyrical democracy that has this formidable quintet moving with the sound more closely associated with a big band ensemble setting. From an imaginative arrangement of Duke Ellington's "Perdido" to the haunting ballad "Lament" To Hear From There is a firestorm that burns through the Latin jazz idiom with as much flair and precision as any recording you may here. Special guests of note include vocalist Kenny Washington and rising star / trombone phenom Natalie Cressman. A truly spectacular effort.
Tracks: 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); Bebo Ya Llego; Philadelphia Mambo.
Personnel: Wayne Wallace: Trombone; Wagner Tuba and Vocals; Murray Low: Piano and Vocals; David Belove: Bass and Vocals; Paul van Wageningen: Trap drums and Vocals; Michael Spiro: Percussion and Vocals.
Special Guests: Kenny Washington: Vocals; Bobi Cespedes: Vocals; Jeff Cressman, Natalie Cressman, Dave Martell: Trombone.