160

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

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
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.

Recorded on tour in 2006, while some of the same songs also appear on the European double-disc version of Out Louder, they're different versions. If that bonus, EP-length live disc gave fans a taste of MSMW in performance, then In Case The World Changes Its Mind is the real deal, its groove-laden, 115-minute set of 11 tunes equitably split between MSMW's two studio discs, with an extended jam thrown in for good measure, along with a gospel-drenched version of "Amazing Grace."

Scofield may be working his softer side lately on his relaxed A Moment's Peace (EmArcy, 2011), but he's in incendiary form here, in particular on a searing version of "Miles Behind," where his wah-driven guitar goes head-to-head with John Medeski's grittily overdriven electric piano, bolstered by a nuclear groove from bassist Chris Wood and drummer Billy Martin that seems always on the edge of a precipice—threatening to dissolve into complete anarchy at times, but always pulled back from the brink at the last possible moment. Medeski's piano also drives the greasier title track, though he mixes it up with a melodica in the front line with Scofield, who's featured in an extended duo with the second line-informed Martin, the guitarist's complex voicings and angular phrases leading to some visceral slide playing. Both these songs from Out Louder are considerably expanded in length here; exemplifying one of MSMW's major MOs: taking ideas stemming from jams and turning them into tunes.

The material from A Go Go is given equal chance to expand, in particular the 11-minute set-closer, "Hottentot," where Medeski's swirling organ work is at its best, though his remarkable command over tone and texture—an analog fan's wet dream—is a cornerstones throughout. A Go Go's title track is equally compelling, while a medley of that album's "Deadzy" and Out Louder's "What Now" blends idiosyncrasy with straightforward boogie to great effect.

But the centerpiece of In Case The World Changes Its Mind is the 25-minute "Walter Hanuman," starting with a sprawling N'awlins jam that takes its good time getting to the core of Out Louder's "Hanuman," stretching inexorably towards a fiery climax, only to wind down with an extended outro defined by Medeski's mad-scientist synth and Scofield's reverse-attack loops. MSMW may only convene occasionally, but with MMW driving Scofield to places he'd never find otherwise, and the guitarist lending MMW a stronger compositional focus, it's the perfect combination, with the whole of In Case The World Changes Its Mind clearly greater than the sum of its considerable parts.

Track Listing: CD1: A Go Go; Deadzy > What Now; Tootie Ma; Cachasa; In Case The World Changes Its Mind; Miles Behind. CD2: Walter Hanuman; Amazing Grace; Southern Pacific; Hottentot.

Personnel: John Medeski: keyboards; John Scofield: guitar; Bill Martin: basses; Chris Wood: drums, percussion.

Title: In Case The World Changes Its Mind | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Indirecto Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Any Other Way CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017
Read The Chase CD/LP/Track Review The Chase
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Paint CD/LP/Track Review Paint
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 16, 2017
Read A Pouting Grimace CD/LP/Track Review A Pouting Grimace
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 15, 2017
Read Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis CD/LP/Track Review Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis
by Doug Collette
Published: October 15, 2017
Read "Sopranoville: New Works for the Prepared and Non-Prepared Saxophone" CD/LP/Track Review Sopranoville: New Works for the Prepared and Non-Prepared...
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 13, 2017
Read "Machine Gun: Live At The Fillmore East First Show" CD/LP/Track Review Machine Gun: Live At The Fillmore East First Show
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: November 6, 2016
Read "Tales From Under" CD/LP/Track Review Tales From Under
by James Nadal
Published: July 5, 2017
Read "Rediscovered Ellington" CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by James Nadal
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "Energy - Saul Losada" CD/LP/Track Review Energy - Saul Losada
by Paul Naser
Published: March 15, 2017
Read "Onward" CD/LP/Track Review Onward
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 2, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.