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Two Books I Recommend

Posted on : 20-06-2013 | By : Wayne Wallace | In : Life, Music

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I would like to recommend two books that I just finished reading about Tito Puente and Lena Horne that I found educational as well as insightful perspectives on their lives and music.

In 1982 I was a member of the on stage orchestra that backed Lena Horne in her one woman show “Lena, the Lady and her Music”. I knew of the legendary Ms. Horne in a passing way but the show pulled me into the intimate details of her life and her impact on American society as a performer and an activist. After reading “Stormy Weather” (The Life of Lena Horne) by James Gavin I have a much more profound respect of what she went through and survived as an artist and as a person. It is an amazing American story, wonderful and tragic all at once ” Mambo Diablo” (My journey with Tito Puente (by Joe Conzo with David A. Perez) is a personalized historical account of the life and musical career of Tito Puente. In 1987 Tito Puente, Sheila E. and the Pete Escovedo recorded a live album at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles California. I was a member of the orchestra and responsible for the horn arrangements. Pete and Tito agreed that we should do a “head” arrangement of Tito’s “El Rey Del Timbal” as a showcase for Tito, Sheila and Pete. I asked Tito how he would like the horns voiced and he said “however you like”. As we were pressed for time he changed his mind and said “let me do it”. This was one of the most important music lessons I ever received and I began to fully understand the profound musicianship of Tito Puente. ” Mambo Diablo” traces and explores many aspects of Tito’s life that I found illuminating and filled in a lot of important facts about his relationships with Tito Rodriguez and Machito.

Would love to hear your feedback and perspectives on these books. Hasta later.

Busier Then Ever!

Posted on : 04-02-2011 | By : Wayne Wallace | In : Life, Music

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Hola familia, hope you are all well and happy.

It’s been over a month since ¡Bien Bien! was selected as being one of the 5 recordings nominated for the “Best Latin Jazz CD” in this years Grammys. In the interim Patois Records released the tribute to the great Eva Cassidy, “To Eva With Love” by Amikaeyla and Trelawny Rose and the new Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet CD “To Hear From There”.

Both recordings have been well received and we thank you for your support!! With two sold out concerts to enthusiastic audiences at the Jazzschool in Berkeley and the Kuumbwa in Santa Cruz “To Eva With Love” has resonated with fans who enjoy heartfelt vocal harmony and soulful expression. “To Hear From There” hit number 1 in it’s second week on the charts giving us our second number one record.

Last week I received the honor of being asked to be a presenter for the Grammy Pre-telecast awards. Here is the complete info.

Pre-GRAMMY® Telecast Ceremony TO BE STREAMED LIVE AT GRAMMY.COM ON SUNDAY, feb. 13 STARTING AT 1 P.M. PT

ChocQuibTown, Buddy Guy, Cyndi Lauper, Maria Muldaur,
Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Trombone Shorty, Mavis Staples, Kirk Whalum and Betty Wright to
Perform at Prelude to Music’s Biggest Night® And Kick Off
The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards®

Bobby McFerrin and Esperanza Spalding will Co-Host the Star-Studded Ceremony and
Laurie Anderson, Sara Bareilles, BT, Kathy Griffin, and Wayne Wallace
Will Present the First 98 GRAMMYs of the Night

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (Feb. 1, 2011) — The 53rd Annual GRAMMY® Awards Pre-Telecast Ceremony will take place on Sunday, Feb. 13 from 1 – 4 p.m. PT at the Los Angeles Convention Center and will be streamed live internationally on www.grammy.com/live and www.youtube.com/thegrammys beginning at 1 p.m. PT. Well-attended by nominees and industry VIPs, the star-studded ceremony with be co-hosted by current GRAMMY nominees Bobby McFerrin and Esperanza Spalding, and will feature performances by nominees including Afro-Colombian hip hop trio ChocQuibTown, blues musician Buddy Guy, singer/songwriter Cyndi Lauper, American roots interpreter Maria Muldaur, contemporary blues artist Kenny Wayne Shepherd, trombone and trumpet player Trombone Shorty, legendary gospel singer Mavis Staples, jazz musician Kirk Whalum, and R&B singer/songwriter Betty Wright. Presenting the first GRAMMY Awards of the night in 98 categories will be current nominees Laurie Anderson, Sara Bareilles, BT, Kathy Griffin, and Wayne Wallace. The live stream of the Pre-Telecast will remain on GRAMMY.com as video on demand for 30 days following the event. Following the Pre-Telecast Ceremony, the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards will be broadcast live on the CBS Television Network from 8 – 11:30 p.m ET/PT. For GRAMMY coverage, updates and breaking news, please visit The Recording Academy®’s social networks on Facebook and Twitter: www.facebook.com/thegrammys and www.twitter.com/thegrammys.

Co-hosts McFerrin and Spalding each have one nomination: McFerrin for Best Classical Crossover Album for Vocabularies, and Spalding for Best New Artist.

Performers ChocQuibTown, Guy, Lauper, Muldaur, Shepherd, Staples, Trombone Shorty and Wright each have one nod: ChocQuibTown for Best Latin Rock, Alternative Or Urban Album for Oro; Guy for Best Contemporary Blues Album for Living Proof; Lauper for Best Traditional Blues Album for Memphis Blues; Muldaur for Best Traditional Folk Album for Maria Muldaur & Her Garden Of Joy; Shepherd for Best Contemporary Blues Album for Live! In Chicago (Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band Featuring Hubert Sumlin, Wille “Big Eyes” Smith, Bryan Lee, and Buddy Flett); Staples for Best Americana Album for You Are Not Alone; Trombone Shorty for Best Contemporary Jazz Album for Backatown; and Wright for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for “Go.” Whalum has three nominations: Best Pop Instrumental Album for Everything Is Everything: The Music Of Donny Hathaway; Best Gospel Performance for “He’s Been Just That Good” (with Lalah Hathaway) and Best Gospel Song for “It’s What I Do” (with Jerry Peters).

Presenters Anderson, Bareilles, BT, Griffin, and Wallace each have one nomination: Anderson for Best Pop Instrumental Performance for “Flow”; Bareilles for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “King Of Anything”; BT for Best Electronic/Dance Album for These Hopeful Machines; Griffin for Best Comedy Album for Kathy Griffin Does The Bible Belt; and Wallace for Best Latin Jazz Album for ¡Bien Bien! (Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet).

Pretty cool!!! We are all looking forward to the Saturday artist reception. It will be fun to talk to the other nominees and get their takes on being there.
I’ve never been busier in my life but it sure has been fun.

Plenty of other good things happening. Will keep you abreast of it all as it comes down.

Hasta later!!

Perspective

Posted on : 12-01-2011 | By : Wayne Wallace | In : Life

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Good morning familia,

Just wanted to share a few thoughts in the ongoing attempt to keep perspective of the world we live in.

The San Andreas and the Hayward fault lines are a large part of living in the San Francisco Bay Area. The 1989 Loma Prieta quake is still fresh in many minds and we have reminders. One knows that it will happen again but hopes that it won’t be soon.

Just days ago, California suffered one of its largest earthquakes of 2010. On January 7, a 4.1 earthquake struck in San Jose felt across the Bay Area. That quake was centered ten miles east of Seven Trees, ten miles east of Alum Rock. One year ago this April, residents across the Southland felt a nearly 7.2 earthquake striking Baja California.

One year ago today Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake that left the country in ruins and laid bare it’s history and struggles.
The rebuilding process is flawed and stalled due to a variety of logistical and political reasons.

The musical and cultural connections to Haiti (via Cuba and New Orleans) show themselves in many aspects of Jazz, Latin-Jazz, 2nd line,
Mardi Gras and many other genres of popular music. Like the rest of the country the musical community here in the Bay Area held benefit concerts and events in the hope that the people of Haiti could pick themselves up and move forward to a better life.

-The 1906 earthquake in San Francisco was even more powerful than the one in Haiti, nevertheless, it only led to 3 000 deaths, Haiti lost over 200 000 lives.

Please don’t forget that the struggle continues for the Haitian people. (There was an earthquake in California this morning) Take some time to think of and send your prayers to our brothers and sisters in Haiti.

Unknown
“We’re often so blind. Our demand for the credentialed so colors our perception of believeability, that we wouldn’t recognize God if he appeared within us. ”

Rabindranath Tagore
“Do not say,”it is morning,” and dismiss it with a name of yesterday. See it for the first time as a newborn child that has no name.”

J.R.R. Tolkein
“All that is gold does not glitter; not all those that wander are lost.”

Hans Margolius
Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world.

Hope for Haiti

Independent Lens “Children of Haiti” – Alexandria Hammond


One year after Haiti quake, W.D.M. teen says he survived for a reason

One Year After Earthquake, Haiti Still in Ruins


Remembering the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

In an unseasonably warm Tuesday evening in April 1906, the Grand Opera House in the heart of San Francisco swelled with the voice of Enrico Caruso. The legendary tenor was performing Don Jose in Carmen with the Conried Metropolitan Opera Company of New York, which was on a nationwide tour.

Earthquake Timeline
April 18-23, 1906

After the performance ended, the finely dressed fans headed home. Just hours later, the roof of the Grand Opera House would collapse. Shortly after 5 a.m. on April 18, a 7.8-magnitude quake, unleashed offshore, shook the city for just less than a minute.

The Great Caruso

Enrico Caruso as Don Jose in Carmen, ca. 1905.

Getty Images
Enrico Caruso as Don Jose in Carmen, ca. 1905.

On the eve of the earthquake, Enrico Caruso starred as Don Jose in Bizet’s Carmen at the Grand Opera House. Hear a 1909 recording of Caruso’s Don Jose performing “La fleur que tu m’avais jetee (Flower Song).”

Later, Caruso would be found collapsed on the ground and weeping in fear among a crowd of shocked survivors in a downtown square. He vowed never to come back to San Francisco — and he never did. Ironically, before the San Francisco earthquake, the newspapers were headlined with the recent eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, close to Caruso’s hometown of Naples.

The Heroes of Telegraph Hill

For the past century, a story has made the rounds among the residents of Telegraph Hill about how the Hill was saved from the great fires of 1906. The scene was described by San Francisco writer and 1906 witness Henry Anderson Lafler.

Hear the story, read by Aaron Peskin, a resident of the Filbert Steps section of Telegraph Hill.

The earthquake resulted in fires that soon grew out of control. They raged for almost four days, burning more than 28,000 structures and leveling more than three-quarters of the city.

Today, those few days in April are remembered through grainy black-and-white images, local legends, family lore and the letters written by the survivors.

One eyewitness account by P. Barrett described it this way: “We could not get to our feet. Big buildings were crumbling as one might crush a biscuit in one’s hand. Ahead of me a great cornice crushed a man as if he were a maggot.”

Happy New Year!

Posted on : 02-01-2011 | By : Wayne Wallace | In : Life, Music

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Hoping that your year is off to a great start and that you are “fired up and ready to go” for 2011.
I just wanted to share a few thoughts and wishes for all of us going forward.

“No two people on earth are alike, and it’s got to be that way in music or it isn’t music.”
-Billie Holiday

“Great music is that which penetrates the ear with facility and leaves the memory with difficulty. Magical music never leaves the memory”.
-Sir Thomas Beecham

“If the world was perfect, it wouldn’t be.”
-Yogi Berra

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”
-Oprah Winfrey

“All music is folk music. I ain’t never heard a horse sing a song.”
-Louis Armstrong

“The blues is an art of ambiguity, an assertion of the irrepressibly human over all circumstance whether created by others or by one’s own human failings. They are the only consistent art in the United States which constantly remind us of our limitations while encouraging us to see how far we can actually go. When understood in their more profound implication, they are a corrective, an attempt to draw a line upon man’s own limitless assertion.”
-Ralph Ellison

“Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.
Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion.”
-Martha Graham

“Words make you think a thought. Music makes you feel a feeling. A song makes you feel a thought.”
-E. Yip Harburg

“Music is love in search of a word.”
-Sidone Gabrielle

“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.”
-Hal Borland

“I’m glad I understand that while language is a gift, listening is a responsibility.”
-Nikki Giovanni

“In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.”
-Yogi Berra

My wish for you is that your life is filled with great music that overflows with joy.
For songs that make you dance and shout. Melodies that blissfully get stuck in your head.
Rhythms that take you to sacred places in your soul and happily make your heart chant and sing.
That you dwell in the reverie of a daydream and find the paradise of childhood.
Build some castles in the air and commune with the incognito muse.
and to be wondrously embraced by the unknown in all of it’s mysteries and wonders.
-Wayne Wallace

Paul VW Update

Posted on : 21-12-2010 | By : Wayne Wallace | In : Life, Music

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Hi all,

Happy to report that I spoke with Paul van Wageningen yesterday and that he is doing quite well.
Paul expressed his gratitude for the energy and good vibes that everyone has been sending to him and Toni as he is recovering from his stroke. Another piece of good news is that Paul expects to be playing drums and working again when the doctors give him the okay and that he will be attending the Grammy ceremonies with us on February 13th in Los Angeles. We all look forward to his return to the scene as his personality and wit have been sorely missed.

Hasta later, Wayne

All deep things are song. It seems somehow the very central essence of us, song; as if all the rest were but wrappages and hulls! ~Thomas Carlyle

Posted on : 20-12-2010 | By : Wayne Wallace | In : Life, Music

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Hi everyone,

First of all I hope that your holiday season has been fun and uplifting. As busy as we can all get it’s nice to take the time to exhale and be thankful for the reuniting of friends, family and health.

2010 has been an incredible year for the Patois family. It started with the critically acclaimed release of “Muziek” by the VW Brothers (Paul and Marc). “Muziek” is a beautiful recording of great compositions and arrangements that showcases supremely talented musicians at their musical best.

Patois Records was also proud and honored to participate in two important benefits in 2010. In May the Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet performed at the All That Jazz” Benefit Gala for the Florence Crittenton Services. Florence Crittenton Services provides subsidized childcare, parent support services, and job readiness training. In 2009, the agency served more than 300 working poor families. Also in November we performed for the ‘Rebuild A Sustainable Haiti Project”, hosted by Ethnic Arts Institute International.

In 2010 Trelawny Rose and Amikaeyla Gaston signed with Patois Record and are releasing their tribute to the late Eva Cassidy “To Eva With Love” on January 11th 2011. We are very proud that this will be the first ever tribute album to Eva Cassidy.

The Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet recording ¡Bien Bien! reached number one on the Jazz Week Radio charts in it’s first two weeks and stayed on the charts for 49 consecutive weeks. Downbeat magazine chose ¡Bien Bien! as one of the top recordings of 2010 and to top things off it was nominated for a Grammy award in the “Best Latin Jazz Recording” category.

To Hear From There

To Hear From There Album Cover

We are looking forward to 2011 in that on January 18th Patois Records will be releasing “To Hear From There”, the third recording for the Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet on Patois Records. I feel that the group has captured the creative energy, nuance and fun of one of our live performances and brought those elements to this new CD. Many folks have told me that they love ¡Bien Bien! because it makes them want to dance but that it’s also just as enjoyable to sit and listen to it also. (Left brain and right brain at peace with each other!)

On February 21st the Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet will celebrate the release of “To Hear From There” with a performance at Yoshis Jazz Club in Oakland. We will be featuring the new music from “To Hear From There” and also selected songs from our previous recordings ¡Infinity! as well as ¡Bien Bien!

Also we invite you to join our mailing list to receive song samples, prizes, news and more info on upcoming events!!!

Hasta later, Wayne

Great News About Paul VW!

Posted on : 13-12-2010 | By : Wayne Wallace | In : Life, Music

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We received great news from guitarist Ray Obiedo today. As some of you may already know, our good friend and colleague Paul van Wageningen suffered a stroke last week. Yesterday Paul was released from the hospital, is back home, played a little piano today and the powers-that-be expect him to make a complete recovery. We are all relieved and are sending nothing but good thoughts to Paul and Toni.

All of us live with the day to day possibility of years of practicing and honing of a craft or skill being taken away by sudden illness. In this age of rapid technology and accelerated living I feel the best we can do as human beings is to live in the moment and be present with each other. Be grateful for all that you have and worry not for what you don’t.

Hasta later, Wayne

Trombone Shopping

Posted on : 12-12-2010 | By : Wayne Wallace | In : Life, Music

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“Even though we’ve changed and we’re all finding our own place in the world, we all know that when the tears fall or the smile spreads across our face, we’ll come to each other because no matter where this crazy world takes us, nothing will ever change so much to the point where we’re not all still friends”

After a fun night of playing and reminiscing I went to the hotel where Los Van Van was staying in Japan Town to pick up Alvaro Collado and go trombone shopping. On my first visit to Cuba I noticed that all of the students at the School of the Arts were playing Russian model trombones. When I tried to play one of these horns I was amazed at how old and heavy they were. Of course this was recently after the collapse of the Soviet Union so all materials and supplies were in short supply. For those of you who are familiar with the system in Cuba you know that there are limitations even for some of Cuba’s greatest musicians. Alvaro was my first trombone/music instructor in Cuba and it was a pleasure to go shopping for a new horn for him.

On Friday I had brought one King model horn for Alvaro to play on the gig and see if it worked for him.
In his own words “¡Wayne, este trombon es otra cosa! ” (translation=I am digging this horn!)
We hooked up with trombonist Mara Fox over in Oakland and spent the good part of the day trying out trombones. We really enjoyed the day but had no luck finding the model that Alvaro wanted.

Long story short we decided that Alvaro would keep my horn until he returns to the United States next year and if he was still digging it we would work something out.

Hasta later, Wayne

Los Van Van at Yoshi’s San Francisco

Posted on : 11-12-2010 | By : Wayne Wallace | In : Life, Music

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From Thursday through Sunday this week lovers of contemporary Cuban music will be gathering at the Yoshis jazz club in San Francisco to bask in the beauty of the music of Juan Formell and Los Van Van.
The group is 41 years young. Creative, energetic, fun and still playing beautifully.

Los Van Van at Yoshi's San Francisco

I first went to Cuba to study music in 1993 via a group named Caribbean Music and Dance. There were many of us from San Francisco who went in those first years, (Rebeca Mauleon, Mara Fox, John Calloway, Ron Stallings to name a few) who all fell in love with the music and made life long friends.
I had first experienced Cuban music live when I saw a performance of Irakere (Chuco Valdes, Arturo Sandoval, Paquito D’Riviera) at Ronnie Scott’s club in London, but seeing all these groups and artists (NG La Banda, Bobby Carcasses, Pablo Milanes, Silvio Rodriguez, Gonzalo Rubacalba) on their home turf with the ambiance and vibe of the people of Havana was the next level and beyond!

I owe a tremendous debt to the trombonists in Los Van Van. Alvaro Collado, Edmudo “Mundo” Pina and Hugo Morejon were and still are my teachers. They talked to me about the history and tradition of the trombone in Cuban music, introduced me to Generoso “El Tojo” Jimenez (Beny More), Amor Herrera (Anacaona), Julio Montalvo (Paulito y su Elite),took me to concerts to see and meet wonderful musicians and just plain folk around Havana. In the last two nights it was wonderful to catch up with the “old guard” of the band and meet all the newer members. I brought down a couple of trombones for Alvaro Collado to try out and we are going “trombone shopping” today with Mara Fox. (Mucho shop talk!!!)

My 7 years of visiting and studying was life changing musically but more importantly it opened another door. All of us who went to Cuba experienced the energy and spirituality of the people first hand. In many ways the communities vividly reminded me of my families in Texas and Oklahoma but with an Afro-Caribbean sensibility. It felt so familiar and comfortable it was like coming home. I still carry that energy with me to this day and as a teacher I do my best to impart that feeling and energy to all of my students.

Last night I had the great honor of sitting in with the group for a set (¡Mil gracias a todos!). I wish all of you could feel the power of that group on stage. It is truly a musical force of nature. If you are within shouting distance of the Bay Area, I encourage you to go experience the power of the music yourself and just let it wash over you. (The band is heading to Los Angeles, Miami and Tampa Bay.)

Hasta later, Wayne

Serendipity

Posted on : 10-12-2010 | By : Wayne Wallace | In : Life, Music

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“Whether we name divine presence, synchronicity, serendipity, or grace moments matters little. What matters is the reality that our hearts have been understood. Nothing is as real as healthy dose of magic which restores our spirits.” (Nancy Long)

2010 has been a special year for me. It wasn’t just that the San Francisco Giants won a World Series title this year that made me proud to be a Giants fan, it was how they won it. Like many other bay area natives I had hoped for this moment since 1962.(Cub fans take heart!!!!) The process of watching a season of transformation with a team searching for identity and suddenly finding itself totally, was an awe inspiring sports moment no matter which team you root for.

For me it is a tremendous accomplishment and honor to receive a Grammy nomination. When your peers take notice of you, you have done something special. Yesterday we received the news that ¡Bien Bien! was chosen as one of the “Best Cds of 2010″ by Downbeat magazine.

To be recognized by Downbeat magazine in the same year as a Grammy nomination is akin to winning two legs of the Triple Crown in baseball!!! (Wonder what the equivalent of the third leg would be?)
Very cool stuff. I don’t know who or what is driving this moment but it sure is a nice ride!

BTW Went and saw Los Van Van at the San Francisco Yoshi’s last night. Great to see the cats and catch up. Going again this evening to listen, sit in a song or two, talk shop and bring down some trombones for the cats to check out.

Hasta later, Wayne