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Medeski, Martin and Wood: A Retro Phenomenon for the New Millenium

Mike Brannon By

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I guess the idea of using a DJ has always been there for us but who do you get, really? Who's gonna be able to do it and fit in to what we do, was the question and so two years ago when we did these shack parties at the Knitting Factory.
From the 1995-2003 archive: This article first appeared at All About Jazz in April 1999.

No, they're not a law firm, and though they're not yet a household word either, MMW is a trio of formidable sonic integrity and groove. 'Fronted' by Hammond B-3 organist John Medeski, the trio has been described as everything from "acoustic funk" and "acid jazz" to "Sanford and Sun Ra" (my favorite). The reality is that this equal collaboration between Medeski, acoustic/electric bassist, Chris Wood, and drummer Billy Martin is an evolving organism. One that began as a group of friends having serious fun improvising has now become a jazz poll-winning, polytonal zeitgeist.

MMW now have six recordings out and are individually on dozens more. The latest collaboration with jazz guitarist John Scofield is a bluesy, R&B laden funkfest, digging deep into minimalist vamps and grooves. It's laid back at times, but always simmering, too. Scofield holds back a bit on the burn you know he can do, and you know it's right. MMW backs him with a reactive fervor, and you realize that this inspired match was meant to be. Makes you think—why hasn't someone of this caliber used these guys this way before? But they will—now.

Relying on vintage analog keyboards—Hammonds and Wurlitzers—Medeski defies sounding dated or being typecast because of the way he uses the sounds of these instruments. He'd sooner be lumped with experimental proponents Larry Young or Sun Ra, though elements of more mainstream organ trios such as Jimmy Smith, Brother Jack McDuff, Jimmy McGriff, and Don Patterson remain. What these guys do is set up long, evolving grooves with a "this can go anywhere" vibe—grooves that conjure the essence of B-3 bluesicians but don't quit until they hit classic '60s and '70s funk—read: James Brown and Sly Stone.

It's amazing to see how these guys ride the thin line between putting college kids into a dance trance and laying down some seriously dense harmonic action at the same time. The energy and immediacy gets so intense, at times it's hard to believe you're only hearing three performers stretching the tunes to the breaking point. Another aspect is the tunes they choose and those they quote within a given piece—an expressive improvisational device. While in the midst of the first cut on "Friday Afternoon in the Universe," you'll hear Medeski languidly superimpose bits of Charles Mingus' classic, "Goodbye Porkpie Hat," to great effect.

Originally their demo tape, the trio's first recording, Notes from the Underground, has been re-issued on CD and showcases Medeski's abilities on acoustic piano. Scofield also co-led a CD, Lunar Crush, with guitarist Dave Fiuczynski pulling off a pretty decent impression of Jeff Beck crossed with John McLaughlin.

Apparently knowing no bounds regarding potential, this ubiquitously prolific trio has also added their music to various soundtracks, including Get Shorty and The End of Violence.

MMW's appearance on PBS's "Sessions at West 54th" this Fall showcased cuts from their latest offering, Combustication, another slamming set of originals augmented with the turntable mixes of DJ Logic, who's on tour with them.

It's good to see those with a vision do what it takes to bring it off and make that vision understood and appreciated by others. Hear this in action: the next time you're in a disc store make sure you leave with either Scofield's A Go Go, MMW's Its a Jungle in Here, or Combustication.

All About Jazz: You don't really do the sideman thing per se, so much, do you?

John Medeski: Well, I've done a lot of sessions and stuff... its usually music I really love or they know what they're getting when they hire me, so, its like they hire me because they want what I do; not because they just want somebody to play keyboards, 'cause there's plenty of other people that can do that better.

AAJ: That do it for a living, yeah.

JM: Yeah. I mean I used to do that kind of stuff more when I was younger but that was one of my vows when I moved to New York and threw away my tuxes and said I'm not gonna do that. You just do it. I mean the secret is to make the jump and I did, I said 'I'm not playing any more weddings or bar-mitzvahs, cause you know, I played 'New York, New York' plenty (laughs)... three times a night plenty of times, you know, so when I move to New York that was it, I'm not going to do those kind of gigs. Most good musicians have done that (played weddings, etc). At a certain point you'd just like to be doing a gig, playing music. But the more you do it the less fulfilling it becomes. Once you get it down a little bit or even if you don't get it down, you get a sense of what it is, maybe that's not as fulfilling as doing something else, for some people. For some people it is fulfilling. I think you've gotta have live bands and I'm all for it. I don't know, I guess I'm a jazzhole at heart.

I just wanted to do something more creative and so I started to think of other ways to make money, like I even did a little massage and body work for awhile, a little bit to make some money instead of doing a wedding and I'd end up doing a wedding but it'd be like with Oren Bloedow (bassist with The Lounge Lizards), Billy Martin, you know it'd be a great band (laughs).

AAJ: That must've been really hip.

JM: Yeah, exactly, I'd learn some tunes or I'd play in a funk band or something like that; this woman, Zan, I played with; the band was like, Danny Bloom, on guitar, Sebastian Steinberg, you know, from 'Soul Coughing' was the bassist and then these different, great drummers, you know—Graham Hawthorn. I mean it was like all the great downtown, kind of grooving musicians...

AAJ: How about your main influences—piano and organ?

JM: Wow, pretty much everything and everybody I've ever listened to or talked to? That influence question is such a hard one. For me its everything that I've ever heard and everybody that I've ever taken a lesson with.

AAJ: Well, that narrows it down..

JM: You know what I mean? Cause that's really the truth. Obviously its a question that gets asked a lot and I can say 'oh, Bud Powell' you know, but its sort of like hearing people's influences is kind of coming from the outside, I mean, what do you hear as my influences, what do other people hear? Because sometimes what music's important to me may not be what comes out of the music. That's how Rock-n-Roll happened: white guys trying to play the blues. But they weren't. It ended up not being a blues even though their influence was blues musicians. Its like what ended up coming out was something totally different. So that's why the question of influences... its really everything. And I've listened to a lot of different kinds of music. Right now I'm listening to Glenn Gould playing Bach and that's a big influence on me. Cecil Taylor's also a big influence on me. Larry Young, organ-wise, Messien organ music, the classical stuff, is a big influence on me. Jimi Hendrix is a big influence on my organ playing.

AAJ: Yeah, that's an interesting point that you mention—Hendrix and Coltrane—in that Musician article (Feb. 1999) about them pushing their instruments to the limits.

JM: Yeah, I think a lot about Hendrix when I'm playing electric keyboards. Wayne Shorter was one of my biggest influences. He's one of the only people I that I really transcribed, as a kid and just his solos. I just loved his melodic spareness and the way that he could play things that made the rhythm section sound incredible. He was like sort of icing on the cake that made the whole thing work. So I'm sure he had as big an influence on me as any pianist or keyboard player.

AAJ: So you're talking compositionally, too?

JM: Yeah, compositionally... cause when he's improvising, he's composing. His solos are so beautiful and compositional and deep. And then of course there's Herbie (Hancock). I mean what keyboard player today...we're all influenced by the same people: Herbie, McCoy (Tyner), early Chick (Corea)...

AAJ: Keith Jarrett.

JM: Keith Jarrett, Bud Powell, for me where some of the first when I started listening to jazz... Oscar Peterson, (Thelonius) Monk, really were big influences back then and then there's the other guys, there's Herbie Nichols, there's Sonny Clark...

AAJ: All the Blue Note guys...

JM: And then you hear about the more obscure guys cause you buy anything that's on Blue Note.

AAJ: Sonny Clark was awesome.

JM: Oh, man, yeah! And Red Garland. Red Garland's trio, I listened to that stuff a lot, also, Ray Bryant is another guy that I listened to a lot. All that stuff...its pretty endless...there's s much good stuff out there... big band music was an influence on me, too, at different times.

AAJ: What do you think each player's brought to the group and do you guys have similar musical backgrounds?

JM: I think that we sort of have different musical backgrounds and they're also similar in other ways. I think we do bring different elements to the group. We each bring our instrumental parts to it.

AAJ: Have you known each other a pretty long time?

JM: Well, we've known each other yeah, like eight or nine years, at this point. We all met out of school. Billy never really went to school. He did some stuff at Manhattan School of Music but he didn't actually, officially go to music school. But in music there's so many other ways to go to school, you just find teachers and I think Billy really got into Brazilian percussion and Samba school and all that kinda stuff, during those years. I went and graduated from New England Conservatory (in Boston) and Chris went there for a year or two but that was after I'd already graduated, so I met Chris in Boston, but we ended up really hooking up on this tour of Israel that we did with Bob Moses and some other people.

AAJ: Did you ever get to play with George Garzone and those guys?

JM: Oh, yeah, yeah.

AAJ: He was here just a few days ago.

JM: Oh, I love him, I mean Garzone is probably my favorite tenor player.

AAJ: He's awesome. Actually, he was with Kenny Werner.

JM: Oh, man, that must've been incredible. Kenny Werner is unbelievable. Who else was the band?

AAJ: John Lockwood and...

JM: Bob Gullotti?

AAJ: Yes.

JM: So it was the Fringe (Boston free-jazz trio) with Kenny Werner. Oh, man.

AAJ: I've never seen them expanded like that before.

JM: Well, not too many people can fit in with them.

AAJ: So, did you watch a lot of Sanford and Son when you were a kid.

JM: Actually, I did. I sure did. All that stuff was probably an unknown influence.

AAJ: Yeah, you know, it just kind of made sense, I guess.

JM: Yeah, I mean I did, I loved that show (laughs).

AAJ: (laughs) When did you think you'd found your voice, your sound?

JM: I guess its been since I started playing... it was always kind of important to me. I don't know if it was about finding my voice, but just expressing myself, you know, always that's been, whatever kind of music I've been doing, I've always been like more interested in...I don't know.

AAJ: Kind of always trusting instinct?

JM: Yeah, I was a classical major my first year in school and had an incredible teacher, this guy, Leonard Shur and he would show me how to do things that would be so obviously perfect and amazing, but there was something about the fact that, well, he can do this already so what's the point doing it since he already knows how to do it, you know what I mean? There's just something about me that's like: 'well, I don't need to do this cause somebody else can learn how to do this.' I gotta find out what I can do. I had some tendonitis problems when I first went to school. And I think, that was all part of evolving my own style, you know? At that time, and working with Ran Blake (pianist/composer/instructor) and working on ear training and that's kind of what that department was all about at the Conservatory. The Third Stream (classical meets jazz) department was all about personal style and discovering your personal voice. That was the focus of it.

AAJ: Did you ever get with Banacos? (legendary pianist/advanced instructor)

JM: Yeah, I did. I'm actually doing some correspondence work with Charlie Banacos right now. I just started again. I took like three lessons with him back then and he really helped me out with some of the tendonitis issues, but at that time I just wasn't ready for, you know, I was just trying to find my own thing and I wasn't ready for that kind of structure, you know?

AAJ: Yeah, I worked with him for about five years...

JM: Oh you did? What was that like, doing that much work with him?

AAJ: Yeah, it was great, it was over quite a bit of time, you know, it wasn't every single week.

JM: Right.

AAJ: You know how that goes. But yeah, it was awesome... best teacher I ever had.

JM: I think he's one of the best teachers in the world, period, ever. He's kind of done to jazz, you know, what Schoenberg did with the theory of harmony, he sort of set up a way of going through it that isn't just theoretical its also kind of compositional and learning, yet it gives you all the... its a broad understanding of the basics. I think he's incredible.

AAJ: And it's so thorough, too.

JM: Yeah, exactly.

AAJ: No stone unturned...

JM: Exactly, and as there shouldn't be.

AAJ: Regarding the grooves you come up with like on tunes: "Where's Sly, "A Go Go," "Shuck it Up..."where are you getting the ideas for style superimposition and arrangements that just groove so hard and are so original and unique?

JM: Well, that's what we try to do. Thats what we're looking for. Billy's really into and is really great at breaking a lot of different rhythms—dance rhythms from all over the world—down to their essence, you know. He's actually working on a book that shows once again all the cross relations between African, Caribbean, New Orleans, R & B. How there's certain claves (regionally indigenous rhythms) that are parallel throughout all this music and you can see how they parallel and then you can work with some of these basic clave structures and maybe alter them a little but keeping the basic essence of them. And I guess that's what we try to do to keep it grooving, and then we work out stuff on top of it... find colors... and that's what we're about: trying to find creative ways to deal with groove music... with grooves and not grooves... but just trying to find ways of creative ways to deal with that stuff.

AAJ: Yeah, it was really interesting, in that same Musician article where you talk about the claves as applied to harmony and form and also just going for that framework: the essence of harmony and rhythm.

JM: Right.

AAJ: How are you absorbing that, basically, the essence of something rather than its specifics and then taking that and doing your own thing with it?

JM: I don't know, just doing it, 'cause for everybody the essence is going to be a little different so you find what you think is going to be the essence and take it in and you know it has to do with listening and learning to sing it. I think maybe that's probably the most important thing. Its like taking it into you in a way that's gonna stick, not just writing it down and having to pull it out and look at it, you know. But, picking and choosing stuff that's sort of... you know, you could easily just transcribe every song and every solo, but its picking and choosing the stuff that is maybe essential or really plucks you heart, you know? Like really hits you in the gut. Like certain solos will just like be the ones that are just like 'oh, thats just it for me.' And so those are the ones you go for, those are the ones you explore and learn and check out.

AAJ: What moves you.

JM: Yeah, exactly and then I think there's some standard repertoire that you gotta deal with you know, (laughs) in jazz, You know, you gotta learn certain tunes and lines and stuff like that. But most important is to really tune into what touches you and then becoming in touch with your connection to music and what music can express and things like that. So then you learn those things and you try to do it yourself. I think improvising free is very important for people to do, especially people that haven't improvised before. You gotta learn theory and all that stuff but its equally important to connect to your own expression. Because you can do all the theory in the world and still not be able to move people. That's why sometimes people with fewer tools can make for a greater musical experience (laughs).

AAJ: Yeah, it's like you've got to be able to feel something before you can make someone else feel something.

JM: Yeah, it has to be real. People aren't making music out of the basic need to make music anymore. There are a lot of other reasons (laughs).

AAJ: So when you write music is it coming from just performing together or do you ever actually sit down and 'compose' anything?

JM: A little of both. Mostly—ninety five percent of the time—it comes out of improvising together, like looking for/creating a mood together and then going back and listening to it and to it and saying 'oh, that worked' and then reworking it again and creating structure around it. But I think that's what most composers do, is they get a feeling and then they figure out how to express that feeling through music and then they/you can create a structure to do it or certain boundaries as to what the structure is—certain rules. But its usually just coming from... just the music and what we have to say. Like we'll come up with a groove or something and we'll just build it. We usually build things together the way you would do it if you were sitting down alone, composing. There's a process of working it out: repeating stuff, going back, seeing where it needs to go, what note comes next. So you go back to the beginning and you play it through and then 'alright, where does it go? What kind of development needs to happen? And that's what we do, but we do it together, which makes it a little harder (laughs) you know, because we have to stop, but I don't know, its rewarding, in the end. When we come up with something, its rewarding, and you know its like I feel that we all kind of balance each other off, in a certain way. Because if we find something that we are all into its usually pretty good.

AAJ: How did A Go Go (guitarist, John Scofield's latest CD) come about? JM: Scofield called us up; said he wanted to do something. So we did it (laughs). Well, you know, at first we weren't really sure it was him calling, but we called him back, we had to coordinate our schedules but it was very easy and it was such a good vibe, He's a really incredible guy. Its so funny to play with so many guitar players who sound like him, you know, (laughs) growing up, going to school and stuff and they sit down and play: 'oh, this guy sounds just like John Scofield.

AAJ: (laughs)

JM: And he is John Scofield, you know? (laughs). You know one of my favorite trio records, growing up, was Bar Talk. You know, it really was, just the interplay. I really liked that record as a trio record. That one and some of the Bill Evans stuff. I listened to all these...all this Keith Jarrett, you know, all these different trios. To me I saw them as all these great trios, equally, Ahmad Jamal, you know I just saw...and that was one of them, that Adam Nussbaum, Steve Swallow trio that I really felt was one of the great trios and they were always kind of jazzy, but also had reference to rock and things like that somehow. And I thought that that was an excellent combination of those things. Anyway, so it was fun. It was great to play with him. His rhythmic feel is really in line with what we like to do and he and Billy really hooked up, I thought.

AAJ: Did you guys take it out live?

JM: A little bit. I mean the tunes are within a certain framework. The tunes have a certain structure that keeps it within certain limits.

AAJ: Do you have any thoughts on Spirituality as relating to what you do or any specific beliefs?

JM: Yeah it does, but I'm not interested in Spirituality. I'm interested in the Spirit. I'm looking for the Spirit. That's all I can say about it. The spirit of the universe, of everything.

AAJ: I didn't mean to bring connotations to that...

JM: No, no, I think it's a great question. I think times are always changing and there's all this pseudo-spirituality, whatever, goin on. I'm sure somebody from a different generation would have a different view on spirituality, you know what I mean? Some of the older guys have a certain spirituality that they're into, but I'm really into Shamanism and always checking out Zen all different stuff. We all are... the I Ching, I'm really into the I Ching. I like looking for the life in everything.

AAJ: What's the story with you playing with Jaco (Pastorius, bassist with Weather Report) or almost doing a tour or something?

JM: Yeah, when I was a kid, I grew up in Florida and he's from Fort Lauderdale; that's where I grew up and was really lucky to get to play with some great older musicians when I was a kid and they knew Jaco and this band we were in—we were called Emergency. I think Jaco's brother-in-law was playing drums, Pauly, and Randy Bernsen would play guitar with us sometimes, who's become really well known...now and is a great guitarist and Randy had his other bands there and I would go see them all the time and Jaco would come down and sit in with us when we'd play almost every time, every time we'd do a gig. I was playing Rhodes at the time cause they didn't have a piano with all these effects and stuff and then they got a piano at this club and I played piano and Jaco was in one of his wilder phases, you know, at that point in his life, it was kind of the beginning of his spiral downward and he was always really supportive of me; really supportive. I even did a recording where he was doing country. I remember doing this country recording with him. It was really weird and he asked me about going on a tour to Japan with him and my mom was like 'no way.' But it was a really great experience, he'd come in and sit in and he'd stay up the rest of the night. And then also there were these different people who had these jam sessions around town. These doctors would have all these different musicians over and I remember Jaco coming down and playing at some of those, too. You know I probably played with him like, twenty times or something, down there—fifteen, twenty times—and I remember him coming down there and playing upright bass after he had totally broken and shattered his arm and he was in an entire arm cast from his wrist all the way up to his shoulder; "Mercy, Mercy" and I'll never forget it—on upright. He played for like thirty minutes.

AAJ: How much does the material change from show to show and from tour to studio?

JM: Well, the thing is every tune has its elements that stay the same and then there's also aspects of it that are open to improvisation and each one has different things, maybe its a melody, maybe its certain harmonies, maybe its a structure, maybe its just a bass line, maybe its a drum groove, maybe its just an idea of going back and forth between two things and every time we go about it in different ways. There's always elements of structure and then openness in all of our tunes and so they're different every time and they do evolve. Sometimes doing a recording will solidify—make certain things permanent; stuff that maybe had varied more during our performances. Once we record it we latch on to certain things that we liked from the recording because we've heard it several times, it kind of sticks. So, its really different every tune. There's always variation depending on the night, different pieces will take on different colors and moods.

AAJ: Are you affected by where you're playing, say, Austin as opposed to the city?

JM: Yeah, definitely, but also the vibe of the crowd makes a difference where we're playing, what kind of day we've had, what kind of day off we had the day before... all that stuff. Its all really important. Ultimately we're there going for it as best we can every night. If a night's not as good as another night you can (still) be sure we're doing our best (laughs).

AAJ: I mean, it seems like you've got two distinct audiences: the listener/musicians and the kids who just want the groove. You seem to please both simultaneously whether you're lounging out or freaking out.

JM: I guess. I hope so. That's hard, you know. I guess we're just on that line but it'd be nice to have. The perfect audience is the kind that's moving a little when its supposed to be and then also quiet when its not just groovin....' because music can take you on a journey. But in order to be taken on a journey you have to let it, you can't be only wanting to hear the groove stuff, plus the fact that a lot of these kids are young so they don't know about foreplay yet, you know? They just want to get down to the... they just want to move it around, they don't want to take the time to build anything. So, that's what we feel like we're doing is setting up tension and release. But I'd sort of like to ask them, when we're getting more abstract, and people are like 'C'mon!... play a groove or "Chubb Sub,"' or whatever. I feel like saying, "hey man, what's up? is this how you are with your woman?," you know. You don't take the time to sit back. You gotta learn about foreplay. But everybody's where they're at. And the thing is, our music's gonna change and our audience -we're gonna lose some and gain some. I know we've lost some of the hipsters and we're gonna get them back, and I don't know, who knows.

AAJ: I guess you really can't worry about that when you're following your instinct.

JM: Not really. But we do have to really make sure that we're following our instinct, because sometimes its easy to be distracted by wanting to keep people happy. It is nice (laughs) when the audience digs it.

AAJ: I'm sure you get a lot of pressure from the office, or whatever, record company; maybe not Blue Note...

JM: No. Actually, I've gotta say, that's one thing where we don't get any, because Blue Note's took us on because of what we do, whatever that is. Yeah, its gotta be working for everybody. That's one thing I think we always believe in. Which is why we're not—I mean some people become so dependent on record companies—I mean, you need them, but at the same time you, we know, from our own experience—and it seems pretty obvious—independence is feasible. We can just do it on our own. So, if its a partnership that's working out, keep doing it? And Blue Note's been really great. Our office is all about, us being happy (laughs), you know? Its really geared to towards our happiness as people and musicians so its like whatever we want to do they're going to get behind it. I mean, certain stuff is more commercial than others but we don't really get too much... pressure in any direction. We really put it on ourselves, probably, more than anything.

AAJ: How has (DJ) Logic expanded the group's potential? How'd that come about?

JM: We met Logic on a double bill at CBGB's Gallery with Vernon Ried's band Mask a few years back, and Logic had done some stuff, he'd played with this band and we heard him and thought he was great. And being into hip-hop and other stuff, I guess the idea of using a DJ has always been there for us but who do you get, really? Who's gonna be able to do it and fit in to what we do, was the question and so two years ago when we did these shack parties at the Knitting Factory. And we had different DJ's spin between us, Logic was one of them and he would play with using the set after he would spin; second set. He has a way of improvising and finding the perfect parts. He adds the fourth dimension. Cause a lot of times when you add another person you're adding another element and the other element changes things. If we're gonna be playing with a horn player we're gonna go with them a little; go with where they're at.

AAJ: Plus you also feel like you're required to use them probably more often. Maybe not from an arrangement standpoint. If it were an arrangement you might be using them just on every other tune or whenever.

JM: Right, and Logic will fit in on anything and find something that works and do it at different times. He's really creative. He's a real interactive, improvising musician. And I don't think a lot of DJ's are. I think a lot of DJ'd spend most of their time working on their stuff alone and come up with great, really cool things and great compositions and great grooves and things like that, but in terms of really reacting, interacting, I should say, with other musicians. Its an art that even that even a lot of musicians don't have.

AAJ: His instrument has a broad palette, sonically.

JM: It does, but, that's part of the problem: choices. Its all about choices, the way you choose, and he just fits in, he finds the cracks so that we just do what we do and he fits right in. It doesn't change what we do, it just adds to it. So thats what's so great about working with him. And now he's working on his own record. His own thing is taking off which is really great.

AAJ: You've got this technique where you use suspensions and pedals, creating clusters, stacking melodic pitches and everything; its really effective and your use of drawbars. What are you going for there, like on "Everyday People" (from Combustication)?

JM: Well, the organ's such an expressive instrument and for me, I've gone through the drawbars and really sort of worked with them a lot There's a lot you can do and you can break it down and figure out and systematize it... I've just tried to get it so its intuitive what all those different harmonics do for different chords and tones cause each harmonic is a different tone and what you're doing is varying the volume of that tone by pulling the drawbars in and out and so if you're playing a chord, suddenly that one drawbar is adding all those upper (chord) extensions and stuff. Sort of becoming familiar with all that theoretically and then forgetting it. I guess I do it to try to make it vocal; its a way that it can be expressive for me by changing it, like within a melody the way a singer would or a horn player might change the color of the notes in the melody. That's kind of what I'm doing with the organ—trying to do.

AAJ: Do you feel instruments like guitars and vocals and things have things that you can't quite get and you would like to: bends, slurs, that kind of thing?

JM: I think every instrument has things that other ones don't, but I don't really think too much about that, I just get inspired by what those other instruments do and then I just use that as inspiration cause its kind of nice to push the limits.

AAJ: Yeah. I mean it always sounds like there's a sense of exploration and a willingness to go anywhere or try anything when you're playing and that always seems to be present.

JM: Well, that's good. That's what we're into, the language of exploration. Because music is a lot of different things and that is one of the things music can be: is a language of exploring.

AAJ: It really comes across, probably more live, but its there in everything.

JM: Yeah. Oh, definitely. And that's been the challenge, is not doing live records cause most record companies don't want to do a live record.

AAJ: Have you considered that?

JM: Oh, man, we've wanted to do one since we've started, you know. That was what we wanted to do for our first records, but that's just not the way the business is right now and so. Plus the other thing is there's tapes... every gig is on tape. So its like our live stuff's documented. So what's the point of doing a live record when all you need is like one millimeter of like... effort and (laughs) you can go to the internet and find a tape of a live show, a really good quality recording. They're there if you want to hear it. And still, a live performance is a live performance.

AAJ: Any new projects on the horizon for you or the band?

JM: Well, we're probably going to start working on our next record, probably coming out the beginning of the year 2000. That's kind of the idea, but we're gonna get it done a few months ahead, so we'll probably have it done by September. Doing some different Jazz festivals. Then we're trying to put a little tour together for July. We did some stuff that's going to be on Iggy Pop's next record. I'd produced the new Dirty Dozen record that's coming out. I've been playing with Joey Baron's new trio... Joey Baron, me and (guitarist) Marc Ribot.

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