At the onset of this CD, James Westfall, who assembled the Wee Trio in 2005 during his stay in New York, is briefly alone at his vibraphones before being joined by bassist Dan Loomis and drummer Jared Schonig. It stands almost as a theme of this well-conceived and executed album, with the individuals being introduced and then heard as a completely integrated trio. All of the musicians contribute compositions to the disc and are featured on short intros that act as telling interludes on the album that was recorded live at St. Louis’ Bistro.
Westfall, a Houston native who came to New Orleans to study at the University of New Orleans, made a brief exit and returned in 2007, is a tonally immaculate player with dexterity to burn. He’s well matched with his bandmates, who play with equal verve, aggressiveness and attention to timbre and textures.
The variety of rhythms, styles and mix of familiar tunes with new material keeps the album moving in sometimes-unexpected places. Schonig’s “Sabotage” suggests a funky beat while Westfall’s “White Trash Blues” gets the trio swinging and his “Space Jugglers” hits with a Latin tinge. It was a surprise to find rocker David Bowie’s “Queen Bitch” on the program that also includes the standard “(There Is) No Greater Love.”
The Wee Trio Live at the Bistro is bountiful in talent and big in sound.