Album Review

The Wee Trio, ‘Ashes to Ashes: A David Bowie Intraspective’


Anything from Bach to Katy Perry is fair game for jazz musicians these days. Vibraphonist James Westfall, bassist Dan Loomis, and drummer Jared Schonig - who perform as The Wee Trio - have taken note of this. Their third album, “Ashes to Ashes,’’ covers half a dozen songs by David Bowie. It would not be accurate to say the trio covers Bowie, nor would it be quite right to say it turns Bowie into jazz. The meeting ground is somewhere in the middle. Westfall taps out the melody of “Battle for Britain’’ (a lesser-known number from Bowie’s “Earthling’’ album) with his mallets, while Schonig plays a skittery, electronica-influenced rhythm - it’s oddly infectious. After the raucous rocker “Queen Bitch,’’ things settle down - initially - with a take of “The Man Who Sold the World’’ that begins all pretty-like but builds a crescendo on the back of vibes played both against time and in double time. Interestingly, though, it is Westfall’s steady hand that anchors some parts of this record, especially on the title tune and “1984,’’ giving Loomis and Schonig more freedom to shift the rhythm and bass line. Only one complaint: The CD clocks in at only 31 minutes. More, please. (Out today) — STEVE GREENLEE

ESSENTIAL “Battle for Britain’’