Wayne Wallace – �Bien Bien!

Wayne Wallace
�Bien Bien!
Patois Records – 2009

�Bien Bien!, is Wallace’s fifth production on his label, Patois Records.  Sparkling with the same signature energy that infuses all his work, Wallace’s masterful compositions and arrangements always give the all-star cast he surrounds himself with a chance to cook. 

His performances offer a fascinating collection of originals, standards and Latin classics that explore the intersection of many threads of music from all ends of the globe.  Wayne Wallace and Rhythm & Rhyme’s enduring love of Afro-Cuban music and jazz will no doubt bring joy to your hearts and the unmistakable urge to dance to your feet. 


opens with the title track, a head-bopping tune by Wallace that features his signature tight horn writing, featuring Wallace with fellow trombonists Julian Preister and Bay Area favorite Dave Martell. Before he takes his own blazing solo, Wallace gives the floor to pianist Murray Low, who ably demonstrates why he is one of the most trusted names in Latin Jazz. This tune is also a shining vehicle for drummer Paul van Wageningen, another veteran of the Latin scene whose stunning virtuosity as a soloist is icing on the cake; his grooves are always rock-solid, and his break out moments are truly exhilarating.

Wallace’s arrangement of Freedom Jazz Dance (Baffle De Libertad) is a phenomenal transformation of this famous Eddie Harris tune, which is here treated as a Puerto Rican Bomba featuring two vocalists, Orlando Torriente and KennyWashington. Torriente opens with a rousing incantation before Washington delivers a sure-fire, virtuosic statement of this tricky head, with lyrics by Eddie Jefferson. Adding to the temperature is a rollicking backup chorus of only six singers that make enough sound to be mistaken for sixty. On the amiable Wallace original Mojito Caf�, Wallace displays incredibly nimble chops

Building Bridges

is a tune by the Colombian Afro-Cuban drummer Memo Acevedo that features more of Wallace’s deliciously intricate horn writing, again covered by Wallace, Priester, and Martell, who all take excellent solo turns. In his ever-informative liner notes, Wallace explains that this tune celebrates the cities of San Juan, New York City, and Havana, which have all at one point been “… at the nexus of blending modern music styles and propelling them forward.”