Bennie Wallace

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Bennie Wallace

Bennie Wallace (* 18th November 1946 in Chattanooga , Tennessee ) is an American jazz - tenor saxophonist .

Live and act

Bennie Wallace grew up in Tennessee, influenced by rhythm and blues , bluegrass , gospel and the country music of the Grand Ole Opry radio show. In high school he listened to the records of Sonny Rollins , Stanley Turrentine , John Coltrane and the late Eddie Lockjaw Davis . Meanwhile, Wallace played blues and bebop at gigs in and around Knoxville . Through the music of the south, relatively isolated from the influences of the New York jazz scene, he found his own musical language.

He first played in clubs around his hometown Chattanooga , studied clarinet at the University of Tennessee, where he a. a. Took lessons from Bill Scarlett . In 1969 he completed his studies; In 1971 he moved to New York , played in avant-garde jazz circles in the loft scene at the time, where he also met Tommy Flanagan , but also worked with more traditional musicians such as Barry Harris , the big band of Buddy Rich , Monty Alexander , Sheila Jordan and the National Jazz Ensemble . The first recordings were made in 1976 when he was working on the Oregon album Friends , to be heard in "Gospel Song" and "First Thing in the Morning". From 1977 Bennie Wallace formed his own trios, which included Tommy Flanagan and bassists like Glen Moore , Eddie Gomez , Dave Holland and drummers like Eddie Moore , Jack DeJohnette , Elvin Jones and Billy Hart .

His various bands have been expanded to include guest soloists such as Chick Corea , John Scofield and Jimmy Knepper . A long collaboration with the Munich jazz label Enja began ; between 1977 and 1984 seven records were to be made. In 1985 he made his debut with Blue Note Records , which made him known to a wider audience in the United States and Europe. The Art of the Saxophone (DEnon) from 1987 with guest saxophonists Oliver Lake , Jerry Bergonzi , Lew Tabackin and Harold Ashby stands out from his record work. From 1978 he was also on recordings of Franco Ambrosetti , Chuck Marohnic , The George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band , Art Farmer , Mose Allison , UMO Jazz Orchestra ( Green & Yellow - Plays the Music of Bennie Wallace , 1987), Nancy King , Anthony Wilson and Eric Watson involved.

Wallace also made some European tours and festival appearances, including with the George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band in 1978. Between 1990 and 1993 Wallace was involved in film music projects in California, then reported back to the jazz scene with a new trio, in whose music he played a few his film music title integrated ( If I Lose ). In 1998 he recorded a George Gershwin album, Someone To Watch Over Me . In 2004 Wallace performed at JazzFest Berlin and studied the music of Coleman Hawkins . In the field of jazz, he was involved in 39 recording sessions between 1974 and 2004, according to Tom Lord .

His music

From the swing era perspective ( Coleman Hawkins , Ben Webster ), the traditionalist Bennie Wallace integrates the Sonny Rollins / John Coltrane tradition of hardbop with the influences of southern music, such as the blues and gospel, rhythm and blues influences of Eddie Lockjaw Davis , Street music (such as on Sweeping Through The City with gospel group The Wings Of Song and on Twilight Time with blues musician Stevie Ray Vaughan ).


Bennie Wallace received the German Record Prize in 1979 for his debut album The Fourteen Bar Blues (Enja).

His recordings

As a leader

  • 1978: The Fourteen Bar Blues ( Enja ) with Eddie Gomez, Eddie Moore
  • 1978: Live at the Public Theater (Enja) with Eddie Gomez & Dannie Richmond
  • 1980: The Free Will (Enja) with Tommy Flanagan, Dannie Richmond
  • 1981: Bennie Wallace Plays Monk (Enja) with Jimmy Knepper, Eddie Gomez, Dannie Richmond
  • 1982: Big Jim's Tango (Enja) with Dave Holland, Elvin Jones
  • 1982: The Bennie Wallace Trio And Chick Corea - Mystic Bridge (Enja) with Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez, Dannie Richmond
  • 1984: Sweeping Through The City (Enja) with John Scofield, Ray Anderson, Mike Richmond, Dennis Irvin, Tom Whaley
  • 1985: Twilight Time ( Blue Note Records ) with Ray Anderson, Dr. John, Jack de Johnette, Bob Cranshaw, Eddie Gomez, Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Scofield, Chris Parker
  • 1986: Brilliant Corners (Denon) with Yosuke Yamashita , Jay Anderson , Jeff Hirshfield
  • 1987: The Art of the Saxophone (Denon) with Oliver Lake , Jerry Bergonzi , Lew Tabackin , Harold Ashby , John Scofield, Eddie Gomez, Dannie Richmond
  • 1987 Bordertown (Blue Note) with Ray Anderson, Dr. John, Eddie Gomez, John Scofield, Herlin Riley, Jay Anderson, among others
  • 1993: The Old Songs (Audioquest) with Lou Levy, Bill Huntington, Alvin Queen
  • 1993: The Talk Of The Town (Enja) with Jerry Hahn , Bill Huntington, Alvin Queen
  • 1998: Someone To Watch Over Me (Enja) with Mulgrew Miller, Peter Washington, Yoron Israel
  • 1998: Bennie Wallace (Beyond the Bluebird) (Audioquest 9) with Tommy Flanagan, Eddie Gomez, Alvin Queen
  • 1999: In Berlin with George Cables, Peter Washington, Herrlin Riley
  • 2001: Moodsville with Mulgrew Miller, Peter Washington, Lewis Nash
  • 2003: Nearness Of You (Enja) with Kenny Barron , Eddie Gomez
  • 2004: Disorder At the Border - Live At Jazzfest Berlin (Enja) Octet with Ray Anderson, Jesse Davis, Terell Strafford, Brad Leali, Adam Schroeder, Donald Vega, Danton Boller, Alvin Queen

As a sideman

  • 1976: Chuck Marohnic Quartet Copenhagen Suite (Steeple Chase)
  • 1978: Franco Ambrosetti The Close Encounter (Enja) with George Gruntz, Mike Richmond, Bob Moses
  • 1978: The George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band (MPS) on: George Gruntz: The MPS Years (1971-80)
  • 1987: Mose Allison : Ever Since The World Ended (Blue Note, 1987)
  • 1999: Eric Watson : Full Metal Quartet (Owl, 1999–2000)

Literature and Sources

Web links


  1. a b Tom Lord : The Jazz Discography (online, accessed November 26, 2019)
  2. The reason for studying Hawkins, who would have turned 100 in 2004, was Wallace's strong ties to the tradition of swing and mainstream jazz musicians: “You can't catch up with someone like Hawkins. What you can do is get involved with a feeling for tradition and the sound situation of the present ”- zit. according to B. Noglik, Jazzzeitung, 2006/11