Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet: Infinity

Patois Records
By Ric Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 4.2.09
Buy CD: Infinity

The bands and artists with whom Wayne Wallace has played are numerous: Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, Lena Horne, Celine Dion and Aretha Franklin merely top the impressive list.

Wallace composes, arranges, teaches and produces, and is expert on the tenor and alto trombones. And the tuba.

This album features his Latin jazz quintet: Murray Low (keyboards), David Belove (bass), Paul van Wageningen (drums) and Michael Spiro (percussion). Guests include Roger Glenn, on vibes and flute; vocalist Jackie Ryan; and a group of background singers.

Wallace composed four of the tunes; the others are covers of familiar American and Latin standards. All are presented in various Latin jazz idioms: samba, cha cha, mambo and funk.

This group's sound is big, considering its relatively small size; plaudits to Wallace's arrangements and the artistry of the instrumentalists and vocalists. The group also is smooth and warm; the background rhythmic “noise” that sometimes is too prevalent with Latin groups is absent.

Whether you're just listening or dancing, this is a solid album for Latin jazz fans.

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