Chris Wallace

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“…a drummer of supreme musicality.”

 John Shand – Sydney Morning Herald

Chris Wallace is a drummer and composer originally from Regina, Saskatchewnan. Between 2002 and 2014 he was a resident of Edinburgh, Scotland where he became a central figure in the Scottish jazz community.

Best known in the UK for his work with the trios NeWt (Scottish Jazz Ensemble of the year 2012), Breach,and the Graeme Stephen Quintet,  Chris also released 2  albums as leader: “Looking Glass” under the band name Loose Grip (2010) and the Chris Wallace Quintet album “Identity” (2014). Chris is now based in Toronto, Canada.

Since arriving in Toronto, Chris has carved out a reputation playing with many of Canada’s finest jazz musicians. He is a member of the Alison Young Quintet (CBC top 35 jazz musicians under 35) whose debut album “So Here We Are” has been nominated for a 2019 JUNO award for Jazz album of the year by a solo artist.

The Alison Young Quartet at The Pilot Tavern in Toronto

He co-founded The Hector Quartet which features Chris Gale on tenor sax, Ted Quinlan on guitar and Jeff Mcleod on Organ. Their debut album “Uncharted” will be released in the summer of 2019 in Vinyl and Digital formats.

Hector at The Pilot Tavern in Toronto

Wallace is the drummer in Scottish guitarist Graeme Stephen’s Projector Trio, also with Toronto bassist Dan Fortin.

Graeme Stephen’s Projector Trio

He is also, along with bassist Artie Roth, a member of The Johnny Griffith Trio.

The Johnny Griffith Trio at The Rex Hotel in Toronto

He has performed with The Artie Roth Quartet, Adrean Farrugia, Nathan Hiltz, Jake Koffman, Eric St-Laurent, Harley Card, Jeff King, Roberto Occhipinti Trio, David Buchbiner, Kieran Overs, Nancy Walker, Lorne Lofsky, vocalists Billy Newton-Davis, Laura Hubert, Faith Amour, June Garber, Carlos Morgan, Jordana Talsky, Selena Evangaline, Gavin Hope and many others on the Canadian scene. In February of 2017 Chris took his quartet “Many Names” into Canterbury Music Company in Toronto to record the group’s debut album entitled “Somewhere Sacred” (GB Records). Read the Reviews. This album was released in the October of 2017. The group features Jeff King on tenor sax, Adrean Farrugia on piano and Daniel Fortin on bass. The quartet recently promoted the new album with a Western Canadian release tour in March of 2019.

More background…

Chris has worked in a wide variety of settings over the years. In the 1990’s he moved to Atlanta, GA, USA to work with underground American prog rock band Timothy Pure. The band released 2 acclaimed albums and toured Western Europe 3 times sharing stages with Uriah Heep, Asia, Saga and members of King Crimson among others.

During this period Chris was also a member of the Canadian indie pop group Blinki, one of Canada’s hardest touring bands of the year 2000, playing over 200 shows on a 7 month coast to coast Canadian tour.

In December of 2002 Chris left Vancouver to live in Edinburgh, Scotland. Upon arriving he began gigging on the local scene immediately. He toured to Spain and Denmark with Scottish celtic rock legends Wolfstone, and became a member of jazz/hip hop crossover group Live Sciences, recording the album “Bohemian Raps”.

Becoming more active on the jazz scene, he began performing with many of the nation’s top players such as Graeme Stephen, Paul Harrison, Phil Bancroft, Steve Hamilton, Kevin Mackenzie, Mario Caribe and many others. As a sideman he performed with international artists such as Jamie Oehlers, Jim Mullen, Silke Eberhard, Louis Durra, Alan Barnes, Karen Sharp, Molly Duncan, Damon Brown, Ulf Wakenius and Anders Bergcrantz.


Chris has backed many singers as well including Lady Rizo, Ali McGregor, Julienne Taylor, Barbara Morrison, Lillian Boutee, Niki King and Holly Penfield.

In 2010 Chris was one of 5 Scottish jazz musicians selected to participate in “Air Time”, a professional development opportunity produced by Serious Music in London and supported by Creative Scotland. He was again selected as part of the “Air Time” third edition in 2012 which focused on composition and specifically writing for orchestral players in a cross-genre format. During the week the group of musicians were mentored by legendary British composer and saxophonist John Surman and the conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and others, Howard Moody.

In 2011 Chris composed and performed the drums/percussion score for the re-mounting of the legendary Scottish play The Hard Man by Tom McGrath and Jimmy Boyle. This bold re-imagining of the original toured all over Scotland to rave reviews.

“Phillip Breen’s handsome production, is set to a live score of cymbal ticks and drum rolls,
turning the everyday dialogue into syncopated jazz poetry.”
 The Guardian

Later in 2011 Chris travelled to Hong Kong with Scottish singer Julienne Taylor to record the DVD “Live at the Lyric” for Evosound/Linn Records. Chris then toured Scotland with Graeme Stephen’s quintet performing his original score to the classic silent film “Sunrise”.

In 2012 Chris toured Scotland with Scottish vocalist Niki King in support of her album “It’s all Good”.

In 2013 Chris toured Australia with Melbourne cabaret superstar Ali McGregor. While in the country he took advantage of the opportunity and also performed with many of Australia’s top musicians including Julien Wilson, Scott Tinkler, Sam Keevers, and Chris Hale. He provided drums for composer Matilda Brown’s original musical score for the site specific theatre production “This Town” set in an old Jute mill in Dundee, Scotland. He recorded as a member of Graeme Stephen’s quartet on the album “Tilt” , in quintet format for the “Sunrise” album and with Graeme Stephen’s trio for his score to Murnau’s legendary silent film “Nosferatu”.

To read more about Chris’s activities with the groups NeWt and Breach please see the Projects section.

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© 2013 Chris Wallace