Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet
Bay Area trombonist Wayne Wallace’s focus on Latin jazz is well realized here. ¡Bien Bien! is the follow-up CD to last year’s acclaimed Infinity and features Wallace and his group—Murray Low, piano; David Belove, bass; Michael Spiro, Latin percussion; and Paul van Wageningen, drums—with guest trombonists Julian Priester and Dave Martell on three Wallace originals and some nicely revamped jazz standards. The title track (by Wallace) features the three trombones on a lilting item that effectively sets the tone for the CD’s eight other numbers. Eddie Harris’ “Freedom Jazz Dance” is recast as a Puerto Rican bomba (and renamed “Baile de Libertad”) with vocalists Orlando Torriente handling the Spanish and Kenny Washington reprising Eddie Jefferson’s tricky scat lyrics. As tasty as the rest of the CD is—and much of it is very tasty—the pièce de résistance is the slow bolero treatment accorded Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood” on which Wallace uses his plunger mute and pays serious homage to that band’s iconic trombonist “Tricky Sam” Nanton who also is honored on “Going Up!” another Ellington tune on which Wallace—joined by Priester and Martell—again brings his funky plunger-muted ’bone into play.