Bennie Wallace tenor saxophone
George Cables piano
Peter Washington bass
Herlin Riley drums
From 1978 to 1984 Bennie Wallace´s idiosyncratic style impressed jazz fans on a yearly succession of albums for ENJA with the likes of Tommy Flanagan, Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez, Dave Holland, Eddie Moore, Dannie Richmond and Elvin Jones. Unlike much of his tenor sax peer group, who were obsessed with following the giant steps of John Coltrane, Wallace developed a link to the huge, growling Hawkins-Webster-Rollins sound combined with modernistic intervals leaps. Wallace´s stylistic breadth covers at least seven decades of jazz history. Yet after he had signed to Blue Note in 1985, he got a call from Hollywood to write film music, soon left for California and stopped his jazz career for about ten years. Only in 1998 Wallace jumped back onto the scene eager to re-conquer the concert stages: "I felt like a fish out of water in Los Angeles," he says. "I did a lot of things in California that weren´t what I would do as an artist - but it was a learning experience." His 1999 Gershwin album "Someone To Watch Over Me" (ENJ-9356 2) showed that Wallace is still one of the most interesting voices on tenor sax. The album was voted "CD of the month" by a lot of magazines, received high ratings all over the world and was repeatedly named his best album ever.
Following the release of this comeback on ENJA, Wallace was a featured artist on several festivals including an outstanding concert appearance at the Berlin Jazz Festival in November 1999 when he outblew everybody else. Because of the overall quality of his performance, the fine contributions of the all-black rhythm trio and the outbursting energy of the live situation, this concert deserved to be documented on CD. Carefully remastered by audiophile expert Bernie Grundman, "In Berlin" presents welcome remakes of three tunes from the Gershwin album, among them "It Ain´t Necessarily So" whose studio version was named "best jazz performance of 1999" by Stereophile magazine. An equally interesting arrangement is presented in "It´s Only A Paper Moon," while three more tunes prove the original writing skills of former Hollywood composer Bennie Wallace.