Autumn leaves behind the hurry and hubbub of Big Wes Turner’s Trio’s summertime performance schedule. Are we relaxed? Before I answer that, let me wipe up this spilled coffee (only my third cup) and bring you up to date.
People ask, “Which one of you is Big Wes?,” and we reply, “Big Wes isn’t here tonight. We’re his trio.”
It may seem a bit mendacious and can be a little confusing.
Big Wes has always been a man of mystery. We have a few photos but none that give us more than a glimpse, no more than an intimation of the true stature of the man, the musician, the legend.
Friend of the Trio, multi-instrumentalist and versifier Doug Brown, recently offered this:
“Friends, don’t believe all you hear/And don’t go telling tales/When slander starts to burn your ear/It’s time to hit the rails
You know righteous ring of truth/And put it to the test/Of all the men who’ve walked the earth/I’m the last to see Big Wes...”
Hmmm. Well, maybe. Who can say. Really. Doug has a lively imagination, and there’s plenty others who claim to have seen Big Wes recently. Somebody saw him last, that’s for certain, but as a bona fide founding member of his Trio, I can swear and attest that it’s been a good long while since any of us three have laid eyes.
But that’s not so important, because the spirit of Big Wes Turner is alive and well. If you don’t believe me, come down to the Essen Haus this Thursday night (that’s September 29) and hear the Trio cut loose on the expansive repertoire for which Wes was known.
Ahhh! IS known! NOT past tense! (Sorry. Compulsive alliteration.) NOT dead! Not necessarily dead. No proof. Say no more.
Meanwhile, guitar good guy Gary Hendrickson is still out of commission, but improving. (Note: When dealing with doctors, ALWAYS get a second opinion.)
Luckily, Blues guru and guitar whisperer Billy Flynn (have I mentioned lately that he’s a Grammy winner?) will willingly whip over from Milwaukee to join the Trio not only on September 29, but also on October 6 and 20. Like Big Wes used to say, “Make it your best bad habit!”