Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tim Price Bloggin' For Rico Reds- Farewell Vince Wallace

The jazz saxophone world lost a great personal voice- Tuesday tenor man Vince Wallace passed. Vince played with Bird at age 14. He left us with a wonderfully mesmerizing history of humankind through music and his personal commitment to jazz.His style and drive will always make him one of the best tenor saxophonists in jazz. Thank you Vince Wallace for your inspiration, for the incredible saxophone sound.An unbelievable talent and a brilliant composer as well. RIP Vince Wallace-you touched this music deeply.
BALLAD OF BELMONT....CONFRONTATION IN EAST OAKLAND...RAIN CLOUDS OVER COTRANE VALLEY...SCOTLAND (MAC) YARD...compositions that will go down in history as jazz classics. I used to hear him play that Tadd Dameron tune " Gnid". What a cool guy, great player.As a of the greats. His tenor saxophone playing was on the highest level...and his message was soul and love and beauty. Wallace was born in Port Townsend, WA in 1939. At 22 months he moved with his mother to California. After spending a little time in the San Joaquin Valley, he ended up settling in Oakland. His earliest recordings were on the Black Jack Wayne label in 1953. He recorded alongside Screamin Mel Dorsey and Chuck Wayne and the Heartbeats, as well as recording his own original instrumental, “Funky.” He performed regularly at this time at the Country and Western halls and go go bars of Niles, California. At this time he was playing alongside Rose Maddox, Johnny Cash, and the Black Brothers. As he developed, he became more sought after at all hours jazz joints where he sat in with Dolphy, Chambers, Mingus, Poindexter, Blakey and Smiley Winters. Jimbo's Bop City in San Francisco was the best place around, where every night after 2 a.m. another legend of the jazz would come through the door. In 1958 Vince moved to Southern California where he picked up work with Paul Bley and Marvin Rainwater. He headed a now legendary Sunday jam session at The Cascades Club in Belmont Shores, from which came the emergence of Kent Glenn, Mark Proctor, Gene Stone, and Warren Gale. In 1966 Vince moved back to the Bay Area where he found work with alto legend Norman Williams at the Juke Box on Haight St. in San Francisco. Through 1970 Vince recorded three albums with Little John, a fusion rock band on Epic records. After another move back to southern California, Vince experienced some of his widest recognition. Featured performances a Dante's were often reviewed favorable by Gerald Wilson, who spoke of the passion in Vince's playing. This led to an eventual run at the Studio Cafe, and the release of two of Vince's solo albums on Amp Records. The 1980's saw Vince back in the Bay Area, where he worked sporadically until establishing a Sunday night session at Schooner Tavern in San Francisco. This ran well through most of the 1990's and led to Vince's San Francisco Bay Guardian Award for Best Jam Session in 1995. This is a world class player...a master at the highest level. Check out his Cds ,records and you tube videos....and know that Vince Wallace was one of the true masters in jazz and an original sound on the tenor saxophone.
Farewell Vince....thank you for the inspiration. ~ Tim Price


  1. I met Vince 10 years ago and was actually going to go to oakland today and get a good dvd quality recording with my new recorder. Then I find out about this, and the Blue Sky is closed too closed. so all I can do now is make this little tribute

  2. Thanks, Tim - I met Vince with his 'Mendocino crew' when he was homesteading some land there. His playing tore my ears off every time. I hardly missed any sessions there at Casper Inn and slowly got my ears and wits back. His magnanimous and humble spirit lives on in my playing, and many others, I am sure.

  3. Tim, Many thanks for your beautiful tribute to Vince. I spent as much time with him as possible when I was a kid growing up in the Bay Area ... listening, playing, learning ... He was an extraordinary talent with such depth and gave so much of himself to this world. We'll all miss him enormously. Thanks again. Jaiman Crunk