"British trumpeter 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 in jazz, and be equally at ease playing postbop, Talvin Singh's music, or Craig David's.
An eager globetrotter in pursuit of new sounds, Wallen has developed both his playing and his compositional resources through a decade of trips to Africa and Indonesia to work with local players, and his new album Meeting Ground is an eclectic programme of grooves, Moroccan gnawa music and free jazz. The album marks a reactivation of his fine quartet Indigo, made up of gifted players saxophonist Tony Kofi, bassist Larry Bartley and drummer Tom Skinner." – JOHN L. WALTERS
"A fascinating set of his own pieces reflecting the influence of various strands in the evolution of black music … the effect is mesmeric." – JAZZ UK
"A timeless album … it's as tasty as an organic loaf, fresh out of the oven …" – THE GUARDIAN
"Wallen cleverly incorporates the most modern musical techniques of sampling sounds with such ancient instruments as the ocarina, shells and the gamelan." – BIRMINGHAM POST
"On Indigo his quartet creates a joyous head of steam. Odd time signatures abound but Wallen remains funky and accessible …" – THE TIMES
"Byron has returned with his most convincing disc to date." – THE SCOTSMAN
"The trumpeter's compositions reflect his love for both traditional ethnic musics, contemporary dance and funk as well as the jazz which lies at its heart." – JAZZWISE
"Byron tackles areas of music only the extremely talented can venture into, this is world jazz of the highest quality, an exceptional piece and one to expand with." – TOUCH
"One to make the garden grow" – GQ
"The overall results are graceful, intelligent and consistently creative." – THE EVENING STANDARD
"This weird and wonderful collection is way, way out on its own … like nothing out there." – BLUES & SOUL
"Byron has written, arranged, composed and produced a work filled with love and melody." – STRAIGHT NO CHASER
"Earth Roots is like nourishing the soul as well as the senses. The tracks flow into each other like rivers to the wide open mouth of the sea." – THE JOURNAL
The sound of the African Diaspora from Mali to London through the lens of the Gnawa. Recorded on Location with traditional musicians from Niger and Morocco. The album features Byron Wallen on trumpet.
This recording of Bambaraka was made in October 1996 in the town of Salé, close to the Moroccan capital during a two part ceremony whose unique form the participants intend to develop and continue in times to come.
The musical encounter of two consecrated masters, Oumarou Namazarou – Peul Flautist from Niger, and Si Mohamed Chaouqi – Tbel Drum and Guimbri player from Morocco, translates a feeling of belonging to a common history, which marked ancient trans-Saharan migrations. The real history of the movement of black populations towards the North of the Sahara survives in the memory of the Moroccan Gnawas who claim and celebrate its heritage. It is upon the individual initiatives of Byron Wallen and Martin Colliver who share production of the album that these two African master musicians can be reunited.
"Powerful, beautifully performed, touching and astonishingly varied debut album … superb and challenging from start to finish." – ECHOES
"A key mover and shaker in the generation of London jazz based talent. A confident and eclectic record." – TIME OUT
"Bop-to-rap spectrum spanned by versatile trumpeter." – THE EVENING STANDARD
"An ambitious and formidably skilful debut." – THE GUARDIAN
"One to watch." – Q
"Sound Advice … just what the doctor ordered." – BLUES & SOUL