WPG Trio

Small, Medium, Large

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    6
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Ostensibly a jazz band, WPG Trio features the insouciant tenor vocals and funky keyboards of leader Benjie Porecki. Obviously influenced by the soul and funk music of the '70s, the group is rounded out with Blues Webb on drums and vocals and Gary Grainger on bass and vocals. Often utilizing group harmony against a funky backbeat and Rhodes keyboard, WPG is reminiscent most specifically of soul-jazz pioneers the Crusaders. Porecki has a light and measured touch on the keyboard and a voice not unlike that of New Orleans warbler Aaron Neville. His cohorts are slick and tight, making Small, Medium, Large an accomplished funk-jazz effort. While WPG has a tight group aesthetic, their choice of covers makes for a lackluster debut. Porecki is a working solo artist and has no doubt played his share of background jazz piano gigs to pay the bills over the years. So it is confusing that this group would choose to record such cocktail-hour requests as "Misty" and the so, so, so overplayed-in-the-'90s "Watermelon Man." Granted, "Misty" is reinvented as a mid-tempo blues shuffle with soulful, gospel-tinged vocals, but couldn't they have chosen a lesser-known ballad to do this with? A CD is either going to be a promotional representation to cater to prospective wedding, bar mitzvah, and other event clients or a strong, creative musical statement of the artists vision. Small, Medium, Large tries to be both, losing some of the band's uniqueness in the process. Nonetheless, the believability with which these tunes are performed -- WPG Trio is having fun -- makes for an enjoyable if somewhat predictable listening experience.

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