Our video spotlight shines this week on The Wee Trio, who will return to St. Louis to play Friday, February 8 and Saturday, February 9 at Jazz at the Bistro. The gigs will serve as live recording sessions for their next album, as well as a visit home for bassist Dan Loomis, who grew up in the St. Louis area and graduated from the jazz program at SIUE.
Loomis, vibraphonist James Westfall, and drummer Jared Schonig have played the Bistro a couple of times before, most recently in January 2012 when they were touring in support of their last album, Ashes to Ashes: A David Bowie Intraspective. Loomis talked about that album last year in an interview for the Riverfront Times, which you can read online here, and if all goes to plan, we'll have more from him about this new project in another post here soon.
For now, though, here's a compendium of recent performances featuring The Wee Trio, including two of the songs they intend to record at the Bistro. The videos for those tunes - Random" up top and RT3" immediately below this text - were recorded in December 2012 at a venue called Red Poppy Art House in San Francisco, and during his introductions you can hear Loomis discuss plans to record them.
Next, there are three performances recorded in February 2012 at Chris' Jazz Cafe in Philadelphia, starting with The Wee Trio's re-imagining of the old standard Cherokee," which so far has not been included on any of their albums, and continuing with live versions of Sunday" and Battle For Britain" from Ashes to Ashes.
The final clip is something a little different, as the trio are joined by the Butler University Percussion Ensemble to play a new arrangement of Shepherd," a Loomis composition originally recorded on their second album Capitol Diner Vol 2 Animal Style.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.