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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood: Juice

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For over two decades, keyboardist John Medeski, percussionist Billy Martin and bassist Chris Wood's abiding fascination with the endless possibilities of groove-based music has taken them from intimate jazz clubs to outdoor festival stages. Their eclectic efforts have included a number of high-profile collaborations; the most prolific and successful has been with esteemed guitarist John Scofield. Following the concert performances issued as In Case the World Changes Its Mind (Indirecto, 2011), Juice is their fourth album together since 1998's pace setting A Go Go (Verve). Where their previous studio recording, Out Louder (Indirecto, 2006), emphasized collaboratively written pieces, ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Medeski, Martin & Wood + Nels Cline: Woodstock Sessions, Vol. 2

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In retrospect, it was inevitable; why it took so long for veteran jazz jam band Medeski, Martin & Wood to get together with Nels Cline is anybody's guess. The ├╝ber-guitarist has, since joining Wilco a decade ago, managed to significantly raise his visibility, but anybody who suggests that he's been “moonlighting" in the alt-country/alt-rock/alt-alt band to pay the rent hasn't been paying attention. Like keyboardist John Medeski, drummer Billy Martin and bassist Chris Wood, Cline's career has been largely associated with jazz--well, before Wilco, that is; that's all changed now--through his lengthy association with Cryptogramophone Records and albums with his ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Medeski, Martin & Wood: Free Magic: Live

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Free Magic: Live is the first release of by trio Medeski Martin & Wood from its third decade of existence. Maybe I should repeat that. This disc is by a jazz band that has remained intact for more than 21 years. Like a family, the trio has born musical genres, specifically the infamous jamband phenomena, matured, and branched out from electric to eclectic.Perhaps MMW's greatest contribution to modern jazz was its DIY touring philosophy. Like punk bands of the 1980s, MMW often toured unsupported (by a record companies), playing gigs in bars and on college campuses, then packing ...

CATCHING UP WITH

Medeski, Martin & Wood: Sound Sculpting

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Progressive keyboard trio Medeski, Martin & Wood has helped redefine the boarder where musical genres meet since the group's inception over 20 years ago. MMW has experimented with everything from song structure to acoustic-electric instrumental blends, all while appealing to both jazz-specific and mainstream audiences. Free Magic (Indirecto, 2012) is a fine example of MMW's exploratory spirit.Free Magic is five tracks of extended play taken from performances in 2007, when the band was on its first ever all-acoustic tour. The album starts with the earthy sounds of percussionist Billy Martin's balafon and ends with a laidback medley of ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Medeski, Martin & Wood: 20

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Medeski, Martin & Wood20Indirecto Records2012In an ongoing celebration of its twentieth anniversary, Medeski Martin & Wood released twenty original recordings in digital form over the course of 2011. Sequenced in the order in which the tracks were released, the collection as a whole flows with the expert pacing of an MMW performance and, in truth, with much the same artful pacing as their best studio albums, such as Combustication (Blue Note, 1999).20 is just the most recent exercise in willful discipline on the part of this forward-thinking trio. The Radiolarians ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood: In Case The World Changes Its Mind

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With significant pressure on artists to look for new territory to mine and new collaborations to explore, it's always great to see those that have worked well kept as ongoing concerns, like guitarist John Scofield's first-encounter with jam band darlings Medeski, Martin & Wood on the superb A Go Go (Verve, 1998). The now-named Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood still reconvenes occasionally, with its follow-up, Out Louder (Indirecto, 2006), a more free-wheeling alternative to its predecessor's focus on Scofield's particularly fine writing. Five years later, In Case The World Changes Its Mind strikes the perfect balance between form and freedom. ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Medeski, Martin and Wood: Radiolarians - The Evolutionary Set

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Medeski Martin & WoodRadiolarians: The Evolutionary SetIndirecto Records2009 In an age when jazz is usually driven by individuals and fleeting lineups, the ability of Medeski, Martin and Wood (MMW) to sustain and reinvigorate their collective creativity for nearly 20 years is astounding. Never risk-averse--whether jamming with turntablists or flouting expectations with an all-acoustic record and tour--they've kept the music fresh for themselves and their listeners. So it wasn't surprising when MMW took another tack for their Radiolarians series. They approached the process more like an emerging band than ...



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