The Wee Trio, James Westfall (vibes), Dan Loomis (bass) + Jared Schonig (drums), have announced the September 17, 2013 release of their fourth recording, Live at The Bistro, recorded live to sold-out crowds at the award-winning venue, Jazz at the Bistro in St. Louis' Grand Center Arts District, on February 8 & 9, 2013.
Live at The Bistro is the ultimate blueprint of what The Wee Trio has been doing since their inception in Brooklyn in 2008. With three critically-acclaimed studio albums to their credit (Capitol Diner Vol. 1, and Capitol Diner Vol. 2 Animal Style and Ashes To Ashes - A David Bowie Intraspective), and numerous requests from fans, the group felt it was the perfect time to take the next exciting step in the evolution of the band, a live album. With this album, the band has captured the otherworldly experience of hearing a singular, chameleon-like trio that can maneuver like a hummingbird, and in the next moment, thunder like a pack of Harleys. Drummer Jared Schonig elaborates, "prior to the shows at The Bistro we had been touring a lot, and a lot of our original recorded material had morphed into something new and something even greater. We felt that our ears were in incredible shape and the band was sounding better than ever. It definitely was the perfect time to record a live album, especially considering that the experience of hearing The Wee Trio live has always been the zenith of our existence. We had two nights coming up at Jazz At The Bistro, and we knew it would turn out to be the perfect place to record Live at The Bistro. The energy is magnificent, and it's simply one of our favorite clubs in the world."
Jazz at The Bistro also has a deep personal meaning for the rest of the Trio as well; "I am personally from St. Louis and grew up playing there. The Bistro is a world-class jazz club and it always brought some of the best jazz musicians around for weeklong engagements. Hearing the great voices in jazz there week after week formed my conception of jazz. It's The Wee Trio's second home!" (bassist Dan Loomis); "Being invited to perform there was a fulfillment of a jazz dream. While I was a student a The University of New Orleans, two of my favorite CDs were both live records from the Bistro, and one of those was coincidentally recorded by one of my teachers - Peter Martin: "Something Unexpected" was the name of the record, and it was in my CD player non-stop. The other disc was Benny Green/Russell Malone - "Jazz At The Bistro". These records were very influential in my formative years. Hopefully our Live at The Bistro recording can have the same influence and provide the same musical inspiration as these particular recordings have done for me," (vibraphonist James Westfall).
While The Wee Trio counts many jazz aficionados among their fanbase, new fans to the music and the band often find themselves experiencing a revelation. Bassist Dan Loomis explains, "we play every show like it's our last, and we have so much fun PLAYING (in the musical and jovial sense) with each other. People are always coming up to us after shows and saying things like, 'I don't usually like jazz but I loved THAT!'. We feel that you don't have to be a jazz fan to love hearing the interaction and witnessing the joy happening onstage. So this record is really about us wanting to 'bottle' the live experience of The Wee Trio and share it with our fans."
The Wee Trio routinely flies from genre to genre, sometimes even within a single tune. They have forged all of their disparate influences into a unified, distinct entity. On Live at The Bistro we find the gents returning to their roots a bit and swinging as if their lives depended upon it! "Until now the band has never really revealed our love of Jazz with a capital J, so to speak. That is, we all grew up listening to, loving and playing swing. It has informed everything we do and we have always played it live, but it has never been featured so prominently into the band's sound on record," said Loomis. Live at The Bistro is therefore the most musically complete Wee Trio recording to date. From classic standards like "Cherokee" and "There Is No Greater Love", to free playing, to rock, funk, and much more, this recording features the full musical spectrum of the band, comprised of compositions from each of their previous three recordings, and brand-new originals, "Sabotage" (Schonig), "White Trash Blues" & "New Earth" (Westfall) and "Ranthem" (Loomis).
"As The Wee Trio, we challenge ourselves to never play a song the same way twice. In every live performance we stretch to find something new in that moment, and this act of reaching is a riveting experience for us as well as our listeners. We have been wanting to make a live record and capture this experience for a long time. Recording this album over the course of a weekend at The Jazz Bistro was a real dream. St. Louis has been a favorite destination of ours since our inception, and this engagement marked our third time back at this club. The great feeling of this place and the incredible crowd helped us find more than a few of those magic moments we strive for, and we hope you hear what we felt, too." - The Wee Trio
With the release of Live at The Bistro, The Wee Trio offers audiences a portrait of the band in full flight, and a glimpse of the auspicious future that is in store for this modernistic trio. Available September 17 on Bionic Records.
The "Live at the Bistro" Tour:
Sep 18, Boston, The Beehive, 8 PM-12 AM
Sep 19, Detroit, Cliff Bells, 9 PM (one set), James Cornish will open, $10 cover
Sep 20, Chicago, The Green Mill, 8 PM-12 AM (three sets), $12
Sep 21, Chicago, The Green Mill, 9 PM-1 AM (three sets), $12
Sep 23, St. Louis, The Principia Upper School, Clinic & Performance
Sep 24, St. Louis, Jefferson College, Clinic & Performance
Sep 25, St. Louis, Chaminade High School
Sep 27, Toronto, Humber College, Clinic & Concert, 4:30 PM
Sep 28, Kitchener, The Jazz Room, 8:30-11:30 PM, $12
Sep 29, Toronto, The Rex, 9:30 PM, $8
Sep 30, New York, Subculture, 7:30-9:30 PM, $12, opener TBD
Dec 4, San Francisco, Yoshis, 8 PM (one set), $18