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Wayne Wallace Revamps Traditional Cuban and Caribbean Sounds with Latin Jazz/Jazz Latin

Wayne Wallace

More than a bit of word play, the title of trombonist/composer Wayne Wallace’s revelatory new CD Latin Jazz/Jazz Latin represents the cyclical sensibility that animates his music. Every tune reflects the inexorable flow of rhythmic currents between Caribbean and African-American communities, a diaspora communion responsible for unprecedented creative ferment. An invaluable creative catalyst on the Bay Area music scene since the 1970s, the five-time Grammy Award nominee is revered as an educator, player, arranger, and producer with his label, Patois Records. Released on June 4, Latin Jazz/Jazz Latin, is Wallace’s seventh Patois release, and the album displays all of the thrilling interplay, melodic invention, and blazing improvisational flights that distinguishes his music.

Rather than the work of impersonal forces, the Latin jazz/jazz Latin connection that Wallace celebrates depends upon the generational transmission of essential aesthetic truths, reflected here so beautifully by the presence of 77-year-old percussion patriarch Pete Escovedo and 17-year-old rising flute star Elena Pinderhughes. The album is built upon Wallace’s superlative rhythm section featuring pianist Murray Low, bassist David Belove, percussion maestro Michael Spiro and drummer/percussionist Colin Douglas. With the exception of Douglas, who takes over for the late, beloved drummer Paul van Wageningen, it’s the same cast that joined Wallace on all of his previous Patois releases. What’s different is that he’s exploring a distinctive Cuban sonic palette with an emphasis on flutes and violins instead of hard-charging brass (though horn players get plenty of space too).

One of his generation’s most eloquent trombonists, Wayne Wallace has been named in DownBeat polls as a leading force on the horn. Known to many as “The Doctor” for his production skills, Wallace is also a lauded composer and educator.

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