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Most of the album's material is original, but they do include a version of David Bowie's "Queen Bitch"—the trio's Ashes to Ashes: A David Bowie Intraspective (2012) pays homage to the Thin White Duke—and the collection opens with a brisk take on the standard "Cherokee," which you can check out below. In some ways, their "Cherokee" represents what the group is all about: There's a moody, introspective introduction that quickly builds tension and pace, before a funky backbeat-driven groove sets up a hushed statement of the tune's theme. From there Wee Trio put the piece through the ringer, perpetually accelerating and decelerating, deviating from the melody with sly quotations, changing the rhythmic thrust, clearing space for a drum solo, and returning to a quicksilver recapitulation. In jazz, tunes are often just raw material for extended improvisational performances, but Wee Trio are part of a new breed that doesn't just serve up solos over the chord changes, but improvises—or at least deploys fresh-sounding arrangements that suggest the creation of structural shapes on the fly.
Elvin Jones, And Then Again (Atlantic, Japan)
Various artists, Nicola Conte Presents Viagem 3 (Far Out)
Barry Harris Quintet, Newer Than New (Riverside/OJC)
Maria Bethânia, A Cena Muda (Universal, Brazil)
Itsnotyouitsme, Everybody's Pain is Magnificent(New Amsterdam)