Chris Wallace

Chris Wallace’s Many Names

This Toronto based quartet is the vehicle for Wallace’s newly composed material. Since returning home to Canada in 2014, Chris has been busy writing music inspired by the new surroundings and the vast array of musicians creating vibrant sounds on the local scene. The group has begun making a name for itself in and around Toronto, performing at The Rex Hotel, The Jazz Room in Kitchener/Waterloo, Lula Lounge, U of T Hart House, Richmond Hill Centre for Performing Arts, Markham Jazz Festival and the TD Toronto Jazz Festival. The quartet’s debut album entitled “Somewhere Sacred” was released on GB Records in October of 2017.  Jeff King (tenor), Adrean Farrugia (piano) and Daniel Fortin (bass) join Chris in the quartet.

“Somewhere Sacred”…

The group’s debut album entitled Somewhere Sacred was released in October of 2017 on GB Records. Read the reviews. The quartet will tour across Western Canada in March of 2019 to celebrate the album’s release. Check the dates for a show in your area!

The “Many Names” quartet continues to evolve as Wallace writes new material already being prepared for their second CD to be titled “Split”. This new album will feature a wider range of players than the original quartet and will include several special guests.

Hector

Hector at the TD Toronto Jazz Festival 2018

Hector is a quartet that was formed in Toronto in 2017 by tenor sax player Chris Gale. Chris Wallace had been collaborating in Toronto with long time musical partner and best friend, the great guitarist from Edinburgh, Graeme Stephen. During his visits to Toronto Stephen began to meet many of the local Toronto jazz players. After a trip to Scotland, Chris Gale invited Graeme to record a few tracks with a new quartet. That initial demo was the beginning of the Hector Quartet.

Graeme Stephen
Chris Gale

Wallace, Gale and Stephen were joined by organist Jeff Mcleod. Stephen returned to his busy musical life in Scotland and Hector began to play more gigs locally around the Toronto area. They enlisted the services of legendary Canadian guitarist Ted Quinlan to fill the void left by Stephen. After many storming gigs around Toronto, at The Rex Hotel, The Emmet Ray, The Pilot Tavern and, in 2018, The TD Toronto Jazz Festival, Hector was beginning to build a reputation as a high-octane, swinging, powerful and highly unique group. With each member contributing original compositions the scope of the music widened. In November 2018 the quartet retreated to the remote countryside north of Toronto to spend 3 days recording their debut album. “Uncharted” will be released in the summer of 2019.

Hector after opening up the TD Toronto Jazz Festival 2018

Graeme Stephen – Projector Trio

Graeme Stephen and Chris Wallace first met in 2004 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The two friends have collaborated in many groups over the years. The first gig the two ever played saw Stephen (a guitarist) filling in on double bass! Wallace and Stephen made up two thirds of the experimental award winning trio NeWt and the forward thinking Scottish organ trio Breach, and Wallace also recorded and toured frequently as a member of the Graeme Stephen Quintet and Trio. Wallace was extremely keen to keep the partnership with Stephen alive after his relocation to Toronto. In 2016 he arranged for Stephen to come to Toronto and record an album of Graeme’s new music for trio.

Dan Fortin recording “Throw”
Graeme Stephen recording “Throw”

Wallace invited highly sought after Toronto bassist Dan Fortin to join and the Projector Trio was born. After a string of four Toronto shows the trio went into George’s Basement studio to record their first album entitled “Throw”.

Graeme Stephen Trio from a few weeks ago at one of Toronto's best venues, The Burdock. With Dan Fortin on bass.

Posted by Chris Wallace on Sunday, 6 March 2016
Graeme Stephen Projector Trio – At The Burdock in Toronto

Chris Wallace Quintet

The quintet boasts a line-up of some of the most in demand Scottish musicians: Martin Kershaw on alto sax, Graeme Stephen on guitar, Paul Harrison on piano and Mario Caribe on double bass, recorded the album “Identity” in one day on November 17th 2013 just two weeks before Chris’s relocation to Toronto, Canada.

NeWt

“It could be the best and most fearless contemporary jazz unit to come out of Scotland.”

               Selwyn Harris – Jazzwise

NeWt on the island of Unst in Shetland for their live DVD recording “North”

In 2006 Chris formed the trio NeWt with friends Graeme Stephen and Chris Greive. This band went on to release 3 unique albums. In 2011 the group toured the UK extensively performing across Scotland, England and Wales in support of their album “NeWt 2” which featured Silke Eberhard from Berlin, a leading light on the German improvising scene. Their performance at Matt and Phred’s club in Manchester was broadcast live on BBC Jazz on 3.

NeWt with Silke Eberhard performing at The Lot for the Edinburgh International Jazz Festival in 2010

“Many of the compositions are by Wallace, showing a rare melodic sense as well as his evident propulsive skills.”

           David McNally – The Skinny

Later that year the trio appeared at Ronnie Scott’s in London as part of the Brit Jazz Festival. NeWt also had the privilege of supporting Bill Frisell at the Queen Elizabeth Hall for the 2011 London Jazz Festival. With generous support from Creative Scotland NeWt created a new and entirely original project for their third album “North”. They disappeared to the Shetland Islands’ most northerly point: the isle of Unst to write an original suite of music inspired by the surroundings. The writing and rehearsal process was rigorously documented and live streamed by a film crew and after five days the suite was recorded and streamed live at the inaugural Shetland Jazz Festival.

In June 2012 NeWt was selected to take part in the Made in the UK showcase series, which saw the band perform at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, the TD Toronto and Vancouver Jazz Festivals. NeWt was named Jazz Ensemble of the year for 2012 at the Scottish Jazz Awards.

NeWt stayed in contact and kept the wheels moving behind the scenes even though Wallace had relocated to Canada in 2014. In January of 2017 the trio revisited their “North” suite with a live performance at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festival, however this time around they expanded the group to include award winning multi-instrumentalist Fraser Fifield on whistles, bagpipes and soprano sax, Greg Lawson on violin and much sought after cellist Su-a Lee who also played the saw.

Promotional video for the NeWt live show at Celtic Connections 2017 at Drygate Brewery in Glasgow, Scotland.

The trio have also just recently recorded their fourth album to be entitled “Drip”. Graeme Stephen and trombonist Chris Greive travelled to Toronto to put the new music down in classic NeWt fashion… with very little rehearsal and alot of enthusiasm. The album will also feature the talents of Toronto composer and multi-instrumentalist Johnny Griffith who plays bass clarinet, alto sax and synths on the album.

Breach

Breach Live in Bournemouth

Breach The organ trio Breach was formed in May 2010 by Chris Wallace, Paul Harrison and Graeme Stephen. Breach takes this familiar format in an entirely unique direction. The group has released two acclaimed albums “On the Walk” and “Borders” In 2012 they toured the UK and were selected as part of the Made in the UK showcase series performing at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, and the TD Toronto and Vancouver Jazz Festivals.

“…slipping between calm meditation and edgy improviasation, the trio have real telepathy.”

Musician Magazine

Loose Grip

Chris formed Loose Grip in 2009 as an outlet for the new music he was writing that was in a different vein to the NeWt style of music. The album Looking Glass features a more contemporary modern jazz style reminiscent of the Scofield/Lovano partnership. Chris is joined by Tenor player John Burgess, Guitarist Malcolm Macfarlane and Bassist Sean Pentland.

“…this album is a triumph of mood and musical intelligence.”     

“…complex, accomplished writing…”                    

   Mark Gilbert – Jazz Journal


Promotional video for Loose Grip’s Looking Glass album 2010

© 2013 Chris Wallace

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