Jazz Diary: Spiritual Sounds from Wallen's Unique Horn; CULTURE MUSIC

The Birmingham Post (England), March 5, 2007 | Go to article overview

Jazz Diary: Spiritual Sounds from Wallen's Unique Horn; CULTURE MUSIC


Byline: Peter Bacon

The trumpeter Byron Wallen (above) is somewhat overlooked. Maybe it is because he is involved in so many different projects, from his own groups to being a sideman, to education projects.

Whatever the reason any neglect is certainly unjust.

His latest disc, Meeting Ground, builds on the same influences as his 1996 album Bambaraka, and is a striking and highly effective melding of British jazz and the music of the Gnawa, a Sufi brotherhood from Morocco.

There is jazz improvisation from Wallen's trumpet and Tony Kofi's saxophone, with Larry Bartley on bass and Tom Skinner on drums. Bringing the African roots is Boujemaa Boubul who plays African bass guitar and percussion.

There are also atmospheric noises sampled around the instruments - village sounds, the buzz of insects. It all goes to make a fascinating, original and highly successful mix.

With the jazz heritage of Randy Weston, who also made these jazz/Moroccan links, and with the increased popularity of the desert blues, thanks to Ali Farka Toure and the group Tinariwen, now is the perfect time for this music to draw a wide audience.

You will be able to be part of that audience at the Glee Club on Sunday evening, courtesy of Birmingham Jazz, which has supported Wallen before with a commission called The Trumpet Kings.

Tickets for Sunday's gig, which is at 8.30pm, are pounds 10 (pounds 7) from the Glee Club on 0870 241 5093 or from www.

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