Intercambio (Patois Records)

Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet

Released July 7, 2015

Grammy Nominee for Best Latin Jazz Album 2016




For Wayne Wallace, “Intercambio” doesn’t refer to a trendy idea or an optimistic gloss on difficult international relations. In his creatively charged body of music, intercambio, or cultural interchange, is a soul-deep communion, an ongoing and never ending intra-family conversation between the extraordinarily rich African Diaspora cultures of the United States and Cuba (and various Caribbean cousins). The fifth release by the twice Grammy-nominated Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet, “Intercambio” adds an enthralling new chapter to the dialogue. The album is slated for release on Wallace’s Patois Records on July 7, 2015. Featuring percussion legend Michael Spiro, powerhouse bassist David Belove, versatile drummer and percussionist Colin Douglas, and ace pianist Murray Low, the Latin Jazz Quintet brings together some of the most formidable and sought after musicians in the Bay Area (though Wallace and Spiro now spend much of their time in Bloomington, where they’re professors at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music). These musicians are steeped in jazz, popular Cuban music and Afro-Cuban folkloric roots, but as American-born artists with no Caribbean ancestry, they became clave initiates in young adulthood. With no proprietary agenda “we have nothing to prove in that respect,” Wallace says. “It allows us to express our own voices in the music, and gives us a lot of license to explore the melding of the different styles.”

Track Listing:

1. Casa Del Sol (Wayne Wallace) 5:27

2 Shutter Bug 5:50

3. Solar (Miles Davis) 6:19

4. Guarachando (Wayne Wallace) 5:21

5. Equinox (John Coltrane) 7:01

6. Como Vai (Wayne Wallace) 6:01

7. Algo Bueno (Dizzy Gillespie) 5:39

8. Timbázo (Wayne Wallace) 6:39

9. Heart And Soul (Hoagy Carmichael / Frank Loesser) 5:53

10. Circle (Miles Davis) 7:12


Wayne Wallace: trombone and arrangements

David Belove: bass

Colin Douglas: trap drums, timbales e percussion

Murray Low: piano

Michael Spiro: congas, bongo, percussion and arrangements

Special Guests

Mary Fettig: flute (1, 5, 8)

Mads Tolling: violin (1, 5, 8)

Jenna Barghouti: violin (6, 10)

Joy Vucekovich: violin (6, 10)

Benjamin Wagner: viola (6, 10)

Graham Cullen: cello (6, 10)

Joe Galvin: steel drum (5, 7, 8)

Don Coffman: trombone (2, 4, 8, 9)

Brennan Johns: trombone (2, 4, 8, 9)

Sean Weber: trombone (2, 4, 8, 9)

Edgardo Gambón: vocals (3, 4)

Jesús Diaz: vocals (3, 4)

John Santos: vocals (3, 4)

Recorded at Primary Sound


The music that commenced as accompaniment to ancestral rituals and gained its popularity in dancehalls and ballrooms, has come of age. Latin infused jazz, has been steadily evolving since the African drums came to the Caribbean, and melded with European musical influences. Trombonist, composer, arranger, and producer Wayne Wallace is aptly tuned into this evolutionary process and presents Intercambio, a cross cultural interaction of musical counterpoint. 
With his Latin Jazz Quintet—and its exemplary members—Wallace has taken a sophisticated creative approach to this music while maintaining the essential dance orientation so vital in its structure. “Casa Del Sol,” one of several original compositions, is a modal mambo dedication to pianist Eddie Palmieri, who has been on the cusp of progression since his early salsa recordings. Jazz trombone legend J.J. Johnson penned “Shutterbug,” originally a blues piece, which Wallace converted into a contrapuntal brass extravaganza with Dan Coffman, Brennan Johns, and Sean Weber joining him on the trombones. 
Cuba, with its significant contribution, is well represented on selected tracks, one being an interesting interpretation of “Solar,” by Miles Davis, complete with an inviting vocal chorus. With jazz icon John Coltrane in mind, his “Equinox,” maintains a primordial African Yoruba inclination, featuring percussion master Michael Spiro at the forefront with the rhythmic pulsation of batá drums. The Afro-Cuban religious traditions, which kept the music going forward with its comparsas, or carnival processions, are at the roots of “Guarachando,” and the inevitable Cuban cha-cha-cha is melded with Brazilian samba on “Como Vai.”  The Puerto Rican bomba is the folkloric foundation for “Algo Bueno,” augmented by the steel drums of Joe Galvin, and superb piano montuno work of Murray Low. Another of Wallace’s imaginative numbers, “Timbázo,” incorporates the timba beat into urban funk with dramatic results. Then it’s back to the Palladium and other New York ity dance venues with “Heart and Soul.” Though penned in 1938, this Hoagy Carmichael standard is as relevant today as ever, and it’s revitalized with a unique salsa oriented spin. Kudos on this cut, as well as throughout the production to bassist David Belove, and drummer Colin Douglas for maintaining the course throughout the demanding sessions. 
After almost an hour of dynamic rhythmic currents, the group closes the set with a Miles Davis ballad, “Circle.” A stimulating string quartet is highlighted on this song, as Wallace takes a leisurely solo back through time and space. A fitting end to a cerebral project that achieved the intended outcome of interacting with the different elements and inspirations at the core of Afro-Caribbean music, blending into the amalgamation which is jazz.

James Nadal (AllAboutJazz)