Medeski Martin and Wood: Zaebos: Book of Angels, Vol. 11 (2008)
It's necessary to surrender all expectations for this disc to occupy easily the rest of the familiar MMW canon. In fact, the challenging opener "Zagzagel" appears to exist in order to weed out any stragglers not yet ready to submit. Survive through but half of the first song, however, and things will become much clearer. By the fifth track "Chafriel," you'll feel like you're listening to the soundtrack for the fourth entry in the Oceans' Eleven series...albeit one that involves the epic heist of a row of jewelry stores in the Hasidic Diamond District! Don't think you've gotten off easy, though, because Zaebos takes plenty of unexpected musical turns into the land of the modal and even atonal. At one point it sounds like Martin actually drags a piece of wrought-iron furniture across his patio while his bandmates groove independently. Not so surprisingly, it works. This music never feels pretentious, only exciting and even celebratory. MMW fans will no doubt embrace this as another unpredictable-yet-enjoyable entry into their steadily growing discography.
Track Listing: Zagzagel; Sefrial; Agmatia; Rifion; Chafriel; Ahaij; Asaliah; Vianuel; Jeduthun; Malach ha-Sopher; Tutrusa'i.
Personnel: John Medeski: keyboards; Chris Wood: bass; Billy Martin: drums.
Record Label: Tzadik
Style: Jam Band