Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Wee Trio Live At The Bistro

The Wee Trio, a Brooklyn, NY based trio comprised of vibraphonist James Westfall, bassist Dan Loomis and drummer Jared Schonig, recently issued their fourth album Live at The Bistro (Bionic Records). The trio is known for transcending musical genres (one of their prior recordings was devoted to the music of David Bowie), but this live recording made in St. Louis in February, 2013 perhaps has a bit more straight focus in a mix of interpretations of classics and originals.

The opening to Ray Noble's Cherokee is a bit dreamy until Westfall states the melody and then leading the trio on a hot interpretation of this swing era standard. Westfall displays a crisp attack with a clear lyricism in his solos as Loomis and Schonig push things along. Schonig takes a drum solo to introduce his Sabotage, with a driving groove with bassist Loomis helping state its theme before Westfall's clean, rhythmically infused solo. Westfall's White Trash Blues is a bouncy original followed by the trio's rendition of David Bowie's Queen Bitch with seamless navigation of the composition's changing motifs and tempos. Loomis' bass solo introduces the rendition of Isham Jones' There Is No Greater Love, with Westfall and him soloing with Schonig accenting their solos. Westfall's Space Jugglers is a spirited original with a bit of hi-life feel while his New Earth opens more reflectively before Schonig sets forth a more dynamic feel. Loomis' Ranthem is a number with changing tempos and dynamics. 

After a drum solo, the performance concludes with Schonig's exhilarating White Out, that is energetically and imaginatively played and further showcases the tight interplay that makes The Wee Trio's Live at The Bistro to be such serious and delightful fun.

I received my review copy from a publicist. Here is a video of The Wee Trio playing Cherokee.

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