195

Medeski, Martin & Wood: End of the World Party (Just in Case)

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
Medeski, Martin & Wood: End of the World Party (Just in Case) Teaming the poster children for contemporary bass/drum/organ groove (Chris Wood, Billy Martin, and John Medeski, respectively) with John King, the producer of such twisted GenX pop classics as Odelay (Beck) and Paul's Boutique (Beastie Boys), updates the classic Booker T. & The MGs organ combo sound for our swirling electronic age.

King's deft production here is sleek, not slick, and it works Mark Ribot's sharp guitar into several tracks. Just like modern life, this isn't entirely a groove. "Ice" is a tone poem cold and dark and hard, for example, and you may not have to look much further than the title of "Bloody Oil," set to Wood's recurring bass figure and Medeski's haunted house organ swells, to learn how MM&W feel about the war in Iraq.

But when it is time to party, the troops still kick it balls-out funky. Martin whacks "Shine It" and "Curtis" with a rhythm-stick taped together from New Orleans second-line and '60s boogaloo drum styles, while Medeski's cool, spare acoustic piano in "Mami Gato" wastes neither motion nor note and honors such spinners of classic soul piano grooves as Les McCann and Ramsey Lewis, even against the floating time the rest of the ensemble seems to play. Medeski leads the group through liquid organ grooves in the title track and "Queen Bee," stung as if by a swarming hornet by Ribot's sharp, Steve Cropper-ish guitar licks (this sounds so much like Booker T. & The MGs that it's got to be intentional).

Ribot's concise chops slice nicely into the thick organ stew of "Reflector" while the band tosses off sharp chords that propel the rhythm and beat forward, and the tumultuous "Sasa," also pierced by Steven Bernstein's slide trumpet, like a siren screaming through an icy starless winter night.

Track Listing: Anonymous Skulls; End of the World Party; Reflector; Bloody Oil; New Planet; Mami Gato; Shine It; Curtis; Ice; Sasa; Midnight Poppies / Crooked Birds; Queen Bee

Personnel: John Medeski (keyboards), Billy Martin (drums & percussion), and Chris Wood (basses) with Mark Ribot (guitar), Steven Bernstein (slide trumpet), Briggan Krauss (saxophone)

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Blue Note Records | Style: Funk/Groove


Shop

More Articles

Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Dreamsville CD/LP/Track Review Dreamsville
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 26, 2017
Read April CD/LP/Track Review April
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Small World CD/LP/Track Review Small World
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 26, 2017
Read High Time CD/LP/Track Review High Time
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "Live in Tokyo" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Tokyo
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 18, 2016
Read "Strunkin'" CD/LP/Track Review Strunkin'
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 18, 2016
Read "Empty The Headbin" CD/LP/Track Review Empty The Headbin
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 15, 2016
Read "What Do I Miss" CD/LP/Track Review What Do I Miss
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 10, 2016
Read "Fellowship" CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Koan" CD/LP/Track Review Koan
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 12, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!