October 7, 2016

WWOZ – New Music Spotlight: The Wee Trio

New music spotlight: The Wee Trio
Authored by: Carrie Booher
Published on: October 4th, 2016

vibesThe Wee Trio formed in Brooklyn in 2008 but sounds of New Orleans are sprinkled throughout their latest, Wee + 3. The Trio tells stories of impressive depth through jazz; it is the most narrative an album could get without having words. New Orleanian James Westfall’s vibraphone jumps out on many songs, particularly ‘Titan Up,’ a tribute to his new Nashville home and their football team.

Local trumpeter Nicholas Payton joins the trio on ‘Sabotage’ and the seemingly Mardi Gras inspired ‘Belle Femme De Voodoo,’ as well as ‘No Justice,’ a song that runs the gamut from beautiful to downtrodden to hopeful. Other guest appearances on Wee + 3 include Fabian Almazan and Nir Felder. The final track, ‘Apparition,’ is a hauntingly beautiful song; immediately bringing to mind some kind of “other” world. Check out ‘Climb’ from the album below.

“As The Wee Trio, we challenge ourselves to never play a song the same way twice,” the group says. “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.”

The Wee Trio have been met with critical acclaim in recent years. Downbeat stated “The Wee Trio often veers from the expected…questioning the rules of jazz orthodoxy. They keep the music substantive and riddled with direction surprises. Definitely a group to watch.”wee3

The San Francisco Chronicle said “With James Westfall’s vibes in the forefront, the group has a fresh sound, and bassist Dan Loomis and drummer
Jared Schonig flow like the tides. Wee’s sound is not wee, it’s huge.”

Wee + 3 is available now on mp3 from iTunes and Amazon.

You can catch them live in New Orleans at Snug Harbor on November 19.

February 8, 2016

Allen Toussaint

He was the epitome of sophistication and class yet his music was acceptable to all classes of people. His music surpassed labels and genres. As a pianist he ranks among my top five most influential pianists. I was deeply saddened to hear the news of his passing. The news came not too long after the passing of one of my mentors Harold Battiste which put me in a more than vulnerable state. I’ve been among Mr. Toussaint’s physical presence at least a dozen times and I never knew what to say to him. He had an aura that demanded a high level of respect without intimidation. I never saw him without a three piece suit on (even in the middle of a 100 degree New Orleans summer). I always told myself “…don’t bother that man, he gets enough strangers bothering him everyday…”. I wish I could go back in time to take advantage of the many opportunities to shake his hand and look him in the eye and tell him how much his music touched my soul.

Below is a solo vibraphone recording I did at Jeff Coffin’s house. I hope to have the musical career and touch people’s spirit the way he did.

 

November 13, 2015

1 Year Update

It’s been a little while since I updated this blog. I have been told that not keeping my blog up to date will result in people not coming to the site anymore. I like the idea of people coming here once a month for an update as opposed to going to my Facebook profile where I mostly talk about sports. Anyway, here goes my informal and humbling attempt for an update.

It has been about year since my wife and I sold our house and left New Orleans for Nashville. Nashville has been the change I was looking for. It is not New Orleans which is both a good and a bad thing. There is a laundry list of reasons why I left New Orleans but the biggest reason is to expose myself to a bigger spotlight. In an ideal world I would have a residence in about a dozen cities and spend a month of my life in each one. Obviously I’ve chosen some wrong genres of music to make that dream come true. This will be my 5th city I have taken up residence in (Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, and Nashville) and I have grown quiet accustom to how the DMVs work and the correct paperwork to show for changing plates.

Since moving here I’ve had some great opportunities to record and/or perform with the likes of BJ Thomas, Pat Coil, and Steelism at some great venues such as Music City Roots and The Jazz Workshop. I wish I could make a longer list of the other great musicians I’ve made music with here but that list will unknowingly leave off some great people. Living here has given me an insight into the music industry that has been very educational. This city has helped me redefine what it means to be a successful musician. To see more on that topic please visit my previous blog post here. I see some of the greatest musicians here in Nashville that make their living through a day job while I’ve heard other musicians that play high profile gig$ refer to themselves as “stage actors who learn the notes on the records”. A few years ago both of these scenarios would have  confused me but it somehow makes sense now. The music industry is a lot smaller than what I imagined it would be. It is still hard for me to detail my opinions and experiences without a bit of rambling. I’m not one to reminisce about the good old days and pray that the old music industry will come back. I’m more of a “living in the present and accept reality” sort of guy. Nashville is a southern Los Angeles. It is a small town with a southern charm fading ever so slightly. 

I’m looking forward to 2016: Both Bionica and The Wee Trio will be releasing new albums. Look out for this news in a future blog post!

I will leave you with a few highlights of my 1 year anniversary in Nashville.

w/ BJ Thomas after the show in MO

w/ BJ Thomas after the show in MO

w/ Jon Estes and Jon Radford at The 5 Spot

w/ Jon Estes and Jon Radford at The 5 Spot

The Wee Trio at New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

The Wee Trio at New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

w/ Riley Anglen CD Release

w/ Riley Anglen CD Release

Recording w/ The Wee Trio in NY

Recording w/ The Wee Trio in NY

Hangin' w/ Bruce Matthews

Hangin’ w/ Bruce Matthews

at SIR w/ Jenna Torres

at SIR w/ Jenna Torres

June 25, 2014

BIONICA Update

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