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Medeski, Martin and Wood: The Dropper

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No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

The November issue of Downbeat proclaims that Medeski, Martin and Wood are “the hottest jazz band on the road today.” Perhaps. While they have garnered a loyal following amongst young hipsters reared on jam bands, hip-hop and punk rock, their appeal to “traditional” jazz lovers like myself is still open to debate. Certainly, if you’ve come toThe Dropperlooking for the sort of Jimmy Smith-like soul/funk workout they used to do, you will be disappointed. Instead,The Dropperis a genre-bending, avant-garde exploration that features shifting sonic textures, assorted sound samples and hip-hop rhythms. To create the album’s complex aural palette producer Scotty Hard (Wu-Tang Clan, P.M. Dawn) enlisted the talents of guitarist Marc Ribot, former Sun Ra saxophonist Marshall Allen, conga player Eddie Bobe and violinist Charlie Burnham. Unfortunately, for a band whose reputation rests on its ability to mine a “groove,” I couldn’t really find one here. The whole affair seems to lack any real focus and the times when the band threatened to establish some sort of momentum quickly dissipated. I think I’ll pass on this one. ##

Track Listing: We Are Rolling; Big Time; Felic; Partido Alto; Illinization; Bone Digger; Note Bleu; The Dropper; Philly Cheese Blunt; Sun Sleigh; Tsukemono; Shacklyn Heights; Norah 6.

Personnel: John Medeski

Record Label: Blue Note Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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