His partners included pianist Billy Marcus, guitarist Dave Trefethen and bassist Don Mopsick. Together as a fine collaborative unit, and three different duet combinations, they explored a wide range of material dating from the 1930s into the 1960s.
The breadth of material included a bit of Earl "Fatha" Hines ("Rosetta"), Django Reinhardt's "Nuages," Antonio Carlos Jobim's bossa nova "Triste," Duke Ellington's "It Don't Mean a Thing (if it Ain't Got That Swing)," and even "The Surrey With the Fringe on Top."
|Marcus, Mopsick, Trefethen, Wellen
Wellen, who never overplays, joined each of the other musicians for more intimate duo explorations of the music at hand. He teamed with Trefethen on "Nuages," with Mopsick on "You and the Night and the Music" from the 1934's short-lived Broadway show "Revenge With Music," and with Marcus on Billy Strayhorn's poignant composition "Lush Life."
He also had a surprise up his sleeve. It was a first chance for opportunity for most in the room to hear singer Marcy Downing, a coast-to-coast veteran of cabaret, who has moved to Venice. She performed two songs in each set: "My Funny Valentine," "Pennies From Heaven," "One for My Baby (and One More For the Road)" and "I Wish You Love."
Don't be surprised to see her seek out more jazz-related opportunities in the area.
The concert at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice was a Jazz With Morrie event. Concert producer Morrie Trumble started the series this month after his eight-year run of South County Jazz Club events ended last spring. The non-profit is in the process of dissolving, but the music continues. Wellen called Trumble "a missionary for mainstream jazz."