Drummer Matt Wilson is certainly mercurial. Not only can he be found playing in all manner and format, working with everyone from Myra Melford to John Zorn to Elvis Costello, he regularly leads two quartets: Arts & Crafts, and this one, featuring roiling windman Jeff Lederer, cornetist Kirk Knuffke} and bassist Chris Lightcap. Augmented here by ubiquitous Boston-based pianist John Medeski, the MWQ turns in a diverse brace of tunes, held together by sequencing and two throat-clearers, the title track and the aptly titled Dreamscape."Recorded in one day, Gathering Call" sounds spontaneous; the craft undoubtedly went into the ...read more
Drummer Matt Wilson may define the ideal of unabashed enthusiasm better than anyone else in jazz. His cymbals and drums even seem to be smiling when he sets sticks to them, so it should come as no shock that musical zeal is a key factor in the success of Gathering Call. For his eleventh album as a leader, this musical ray of positive energy called on his quartet and added an important guest to the mix; he reunited with his old friend and former band mate in the late '80s edition of Russ Gershon's Either/Orchestra--pianist John Medeski. The resultant music ...read more
When he is not occupying the drum chair of one of dozens of bands that he is called upon to inject with his contagious effervescence, drummer Matt Wilson can be found leading his two bands, Arts & Crafts and the Matt Wilson Quartet. Both quartets feature stellar bassists, Arts & Crafts--Martin Wind and here, Chris Lightcap. Where the former employs the talents of pianist/organist Gary Versace, the Quartet sails without keys. That is, until Wilson invites John Medeski as a guest for the Quartet's fourth release. Following That's Gonna Leave A Mark (Palmetto, 2009), Wilson substituted cornetist Kirk ...read more
John Medeski's A Different Time certainly lives up to its title. It is both everything and nothing like what might be expected from a musician whose stock in trade is a concerted effort to avoid the predictable, as a charter member of Medeski Martin & Wood, in the course of his many live solo efforts and in group settings with guitarists Will Bernard and David Fuczynski or last year's tribute to Tony Williams, Spectrum Road.As such this solo piano recording bears little of the familiar influences (Thelonius Monk, Art Tatum) Medeski has utilized to forge his unique approach ...read more
Organ ace John Medeski dons the mask of a left-leaning jazzer teetering on the brink of the jam band precipice when he appears with his co-lead super trio, Medeski, Martin & Wood (MMW), or in any number of other contexts, but that's his public face; his private pianistic side is on display on the aptly title A Different Time. Medeski returns to his alone-at-the-piano roots here, looking back to a time when intimate, measured self-expression reigned supreme in the world, and in his own developing musical persona. This thematic umbrella covers the entirety of his first solo ...read more
John Medeski is one of the jazz world's best-known and most accomplished keyboard players--but he had to begin learning jazz somewhere. That somewhere was with pianist, composer and teacher Lee Shaw, in late '70s Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Over 30 years later, as the title of their album makes plain, Medeski and Shaw are Together Again: Live At The Egg on a joyously musical date from the Albany, New York venue recorded on April 5, 2009. It's a date made possible by bassist Rich Syracuse and drummer Jeff “Siege" Siegel, who deserve special thanks for organizing the gig. ...read more
The sight of John Medeski performing on stage--his brow furrowed by intense concentration--can be intimidating. Armed with an arsenal of instruments both traditional and unconventional, he concocts sonic combinations most listeners would never have otherwise conceived. It's obvious that he's there to work--not play. Like a mad scientist who's been stuck in his lab for months, Medeski proudly shows off the results of his experiments, making the listener sit up and take notice...perhaps even notes. The doctor is in session. Off stage, however, Medeski's intensity morphs into an unbridled enthusiasm for music. He's happy to be ...read more
The Medeski, Martin & Wood band, one that has amassed followers like a snowball rolling down a mountain of wet snow since its emergence on the scene over 18 years ago, is one of those exceptional organizations that doesn't stick to playing what might be expected by its audiences. They don't play it safe, instead choosing to explore sounds, grooves, genres as the spirit moves them. And 2009 saw the spirit moving them a great deal.
Also, unlike many groups that stay together a long time for music making, these three gentlemen like each other. ...read more
In their nearly twenty year history, drummer Billy Martin and organist John Medeski have developed an acute affinity built on a shared rhythmic feel and devotion to improvisation. On Mago, they return to the duo format, the seed that blossomed into the successful trio Medeski, Martin & Wood (MMW). The eleven tracks crackle with vitality, as the musicians mine their seemingly infinite variety of grooves. The aggressive burner Introducing Mago opens the CD, one of the bookend free improvs. The musicians instinctually match their dynamic, tempo and feel shifts throughout, morphing into an established groove and then ...read more
One of the primary virtues of the Medeski, Martin and Wood partnership is the fluid means by which they conduct side projects as smoothly as they interact when they play together. Billy Martin's live percussion workshops may be less farther afield than keyboardist John Medeski's production of sacred steel band The Campbell Brothers, but they are no less conducive to keeping the MMW collaboration fresh than bassist Chris Wood's touring and recording Americana music with his brother Oliver.
Not surprisingly then, the long-delayed Martin/Medeski duet album Mago is a CD to be enjoyed on a number of levels. It's a ...read more
In 1989 organist John Medeski joined percussionist Billy Martin in his Brooklyn loft for a jam session that became the genesis for the groove institution known as MMW. Together with bassist Chris Wood, Medeski, Martin & Wood has become one of the most successful cross-over stories in all of modern jazz.
Medeski and Martin vowed to record as a duo one day, and Mago is the result. Stripped down to core essentials, Martin eschews additional percussion in favor of a traditional trap set, while Medeski sticks to his trusty Hammond B-3 organ. Without Chris Wood to fill the ...read more
Jazz relies on instrumental virtuosity and the reputation of the people making it to distinguish itself, but the Thirsty Ear Blue Series seems to take the opposite approach. Extending the tradition of the Antipop Consortium, the Blue Series Continuum and the Free Zen Society, Scotty Hard's Radical Reconstructive Surgery is another semi-anonymous project that puts producer and engineer Scott Harding (Wu-Tang Clan, Medeski Martin & Wood, among others) in charge of fragmented keyboard melodies and drum-and-bass grooves that are sampled, remixed and mashed up into the sort of jazztronica for which Thirsty Ear has come to be known.
The common ...read more
One of the strengths of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey was the employment of silence. Yet if any piece of music could successfully accompany the image of Frank being severed" from the space-pod by HAL, then the spacey, sinister intro of Scotty Hard's Radical Reconstructive Surgery could be it.
This is an album full of halucinatory noises and unearthly voices, swirling Moog and Wurlitzer atmospherics, and stabbing piano, all carried along on a deep funk beat. Operation Chance sounds like rats trapped inside a piano which is being tuned while the workmen are in laying down floorboards. St. Clare's ...read more
Celebrated hip-hop producer Scotty Hard realizes a longstanding ambition on Radical Reconstructive Surgery: the pairing of keyboardists John Medeski and Matthew Shipp. This album documents the first-ever recorded encounter of the two players, both former students of the New England Conservatory of Music. Half the pieces consist of written collaborations between Medeski, Shipp and Hard; the remainder of the tunes were written by Hard.
Medeski and Shipp are joined by stalwart bassist William Parker and rising drummer Nasheet Waits. Effortlessly flowing from one funky gambit to the next, Parker and Waits lay a solid, rhythmic foundation with in-the-pocket ...read more
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