Balancing Act: We3 Are Successful Onstage and Off

Jazz trio We3 are successful onstage and off.
Jazz trio We3 are successful onstage and off.
Carrie Motzing Photography
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The lingering idea that people can’t manage two successful careers simultaneously is one that needs a proper burial already. Getting to know the local jazzy trio We3 is a step in the direction of putting that tired notion to bed.

The elegantly soulful group are Renee Grant Patrick (vocals), Suzanne Lansford (violin), and Nicole Pesce (piano). Currently, the latter two are deeply involved with career goals that land on the weighty side of the scale.

Lansford is an electrical engineer and owns her own company where she is a one-woman show, right down to “bottle washer.” She also heads up some slightly more complicated tasks, like projects that involve nuclear power and public infrastructure.

Pesce is studying software engineering at ASU. “They have a great online program that allows me to manage my music career,” she says. “I’ve always enjoyed working with computers, so I went down this avenue.” Computer technology being synonymous with music these days, she hopes to one day align the two.

Grant Patrick has had a lengthy music career, spanning more than three decades. That remarkable voice is genetic. Her father, George Grant, was in the legendary Ink Spots and her mother, Theresa, sang at Motown alongside huge names like Smokey Robinson. Right now, she is enjoying performing full time.

“My children are grown, I’m no longer married, so I have the time to do things like go to Paris,” she says, adding with a chuckle about “not having to return to my dental assistant career recently.”

That trip to France that Grant Patrick mentioned is one the trio embarked on together. She and Pesce headed out first, and Lansford joined them later. Though they didn’t make the trip with specific plans to perform, the cosmic hand that seems to guide them gently swept them into some musical opportunities on their stay.

When they heard about an open jam they should hit — Lansford being encouraged to “bring your violin” — they went for it. Pesce recalls that the crowd immediately went crazy for Renee’s voice. That, along with the first few notes of music, inspired a French following. “Everyone was so welcoming,” she added. They ended up doing more shows around the city on what started as a regular vacation.

That turn of events in France happened as seamlessly as the group’s formation.

The women, who are longtime, expert-level players of jazz, swing, and soul music styles, knew of one another. They hadn’t officially met until the night they did an impromptu set together at a venue in Carefree.

Each member of We3 gushes at the mention of how effortlessly things fell into place, musically and personally. Visiting with the trio, you’d never guess that they weren’t lifelong friends.

It’s been three years since they found magic on that stage. They’re celebrating with a show on Saturday, October 5, at The Nash, with renowned drummer Todd Chuba sitting in. They’ll follow that with a holiday CD release performance at the MIM Music Theater on November 26.

Though classic and standard songs will always be a majority of what they perform, We3 plan to start working together on some original tunes soon, and since things went so well for the trio in France, they’re balancing out their schedules to do some more traveling in the spring, including a Hawaiian cruise catering to jazz fans where they’ve been booked to perform nightly.

We3 are scheduled to perform on Saturday, October 5, at The Nash. Tickets are $16 to $36 via The Nash.

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