Born: June 15, 1939 Primary Instrument: Sax, tenor
Wallace was born in Port Townsend, WA in 1939. At 22 months he moved with his mother to California. After spending a little time in the San Joaquin Valley, he ended up settling in Oakland.
His earliest recordings were on the Black Jack Wayne label in 1953. He recorded alongside Screamin Mel Dorsey and Chuck Wayne and the Heartbeats, as well as recording his own original instrumental, Funky. He performed regularly at this time at the Country and Western halls and go go bars of Niles, California. At this time he was playing alongside Rose Maddox, Johnny Cash, and the Black Brothers. As he developed, he became more sought after at all hours jazz joints where he sat in with Dolphy, Chambers, Mingus, Poindexter, Blakey and Smiley Winters. Jimbo's Bop City in San Francisco was the best place around, where every night after 2 a.m. another legend of the jazz would come through the door.
In 1958 Vince moved to Southern California where he picked up work with Paul Bley and Marvin Rainwater. He headed a now legendary Sunday jam session at The Cascades Club in Belmont Shores, from which came the emergence of Kent Glenn, Mark Proctor, Gene Stone, and Warren Gale.
In 1966 Vince moved back to the Bay Area where he found work with alto legend Norman Williams at the Juke Box on Haight St. in San Francisco. Through 1970 Vince recorded three albums with Little John, a fusion rock band on Epic records.
After another move back to southern California, Vince experienced some of his widest recognition. Featured performances a Dante's were often reviewed favorable by Gerald Wilson, who spoke of the passion in Vince's playing. This led to an eventual run at the Studio Cafe, and the release of two of Vince's solo albums on Amp Records.
The 1980's saw Vince back in the Bay Area, where he worked sporadically until establishing a Sunday night session at Schooner Tavern in San Francisco. This ran well through most of the 1990's and led to Vince's San Francisco Bay Guardian Award for Best Jam Session in 1995.
The new millenium saw a surge in interest in Vince's music. Vince started working at the Bulldog Coffee Shop in Oakland every Sunday in July, 2001. Here he was reunited with Bishop Norman Williams, Prince Lasha, Jim Grantham, Steve Heckman, Fred Randolph, Chuck Thomposon, Chris Amberger, Terry Rodriguez, and John Gilmore to name a few. Vince began working on his memoirs and started a website, www.vincewallace.com. He played casual gigs until the Bulldog closed and he moved over to the Coffee Shop SR-71 in 2004. In May, 2004, he started a Friday night run at Cafe Van Kleef that has been thrilling packed houses every Friday sinse. He has appeared on KCSM 91.1 F.M. several times, taken part in a panel discussion of jazz and the Beats, recorded a new album with Larry Vuckovich, and reestablished himself as one of the most sought after saxophonists around. The next few years look very good for jazz and Vince Wallace, and the thrill of his music will undoubtably be spread throughout the world via his website www.vincewallace.com.