"Byron Wallen sometimes suggests an absorbing fusion of the fragmentary lyricism of late period Miles Davis and the spiky euphoria of Don Cherry. Just as frequently he will seem closer to Asian or North African music, or reveal
an informed appreciation of some of the earliest trumpet pioneers
- The Guardian
"His quartet creates a joyous head of steam. Odd time signatures abound, but Wallen remains funky and accessible," said The Times.
More than 10 years after his fourth album, Meeting Ground (2007), which featured Gnawamaster musician Boujemma Boubul - and for which he received nominations for Best Band and Best Album in the 2007 BBC Jazz Awards and Best Jazz Act in the 2007 MOBO Awards - trumpeter Byron Wallen has released his much-anticipated latest album, Portrait.
Here last January as a member of the Dizzy Reece: Roots In Jazz group, Byron is one of the UK's most innovative, exciting and original trumpeters, and widely recognised as a seminal figure in World Jazz.
Raised in a musical environment, Byron started learning his first instrument, the piano, at an early age. He then went on to study the trumpet with Jimmy Owens, Donald Byrd and Jon Faddis in New York, while his early music career was forged while studying for a degree in Psychology, Philosophy and Maths at Sussex University.
During this period Byron recorded for Loose Ends and Cleveland Watkiss, and played trumpet with the likes of Mervyn Africa, Style Council, Charles Earland, Courtney Pine and Jean Toussaint.
By the late 90s Byron's work was receiving worldwide attention and his fluent trumpet (firmly rooted in the jazz tradition) could be heard with a myriad of artists - from David Murray, Andrew Hill, Billy Higgins, Eddie Henderson and Wynton Marsalis, to Freddie Hubbard, George Benson, Lonnie Liston Smith and Ronnie Laws.
As if to confirm his versatility and adaptability, Byron has also appeared alongside African pioneers such as Hugh Masekela, Manu Dibango and Amampondo, World Music artists Baaba Maal and Cheikh-Lo, rap outfits like The Roots, Digable Planets and US3, plus pop artists Mica Paris, Desmond Dekker, Janet Kay, Chaka Khan and Grace Jones.
More recently, he's performed with Bobby McFerrin, Jack DeJohnette and McCoy Tyner, plus reggae pioneers Gregory Isaacs, Ken Boothe and Mikey Spice.
Byron Wallen (Trumpet), Rob Luft (Guitar), Paul Michael (Bass), Rod Youngs (Drums).
"Powerful, beautifully performed, touching and astonishingly varied debut
album . . . superb
from start to finish."
– Echoes on
"A fascinating set
of his own pieces reflecting the influence of
in the evolution of black music."
– Jazz UK
Tickets: £15 / £13 Concessions. Students £6 (+ Booking Fee)
Doors: 7.00pm. 1st Set: 7.30pm