443

Medeski Martin & Wood: Medeski Martin & Wood: Radiolarians III

Doug Collette By

Sign in to view read count
Medeski Martin & Wood: Medeski Martin & Wood: Radiolarians III Bonded as if in a purposeful and passionate quest to unite the opposites of discipline and spontaneity, the Zen masters of modern jazz known as Medeski, Martin & Wood have now completed The Radiolarians Series, an eighteen-month endeavor in which the trio composed new original material, embarked on tour to road test it, and then immediately sequestered themselves in to the recording studio to capture its distilled essence.

The third and final installment begins simply enough with "Chantes de Femmes," a smooth interweaving of melody and rhythm. As elaborations on the tune itself coincide with chopping of the beat, what sounds perfectly odd at first—with keyboardist John Medeski and percussionist Billy Martin hard at work—ultimately sounds perfectly natural, with Martin going to his kit just as Chris Wood's bass enters. The spontaneity of the moment is pure—or, at least, sounds that way. This sublime sonic shift engineers the intro for acoustic piano, as the rollicking start turns reflective—almost somber—as the track closes.

The mood reverses again at the outset of "Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down," as Medeski solos up and down, hard on the ivories, before he's drowned out by a fuzzed-up sound that might be Wood bowing his bass. The soft tinkling sounds of the piano in a classical mode on "Kota" add an exotic texture, while a heavier backbeat, way in the background, leavens the ambient sounds prior to its pastoral passages. This tour-de-force precedes the syncopated organ that introduces "Wonton," a distinctly old-school MMW approach which continues into "Walk Back," where Martin gets to indulge in a distinctly Latin percussion workout. Like most such intervals, it ends too soon—a laudable act of restraint.

"Jean's Scene," then, almost sounds like the reasonable conclusion to the set and may very well be the finale of Radiolarians. But Medeski, Martin & Wood are nothing if not forward-looking, so the funky likes of "Gyro Mi" sounds like a further extension in this streamlined direction for the trio. Engineer and co-producer David Kent aided in preserving an unadorned production approach throughout The Radiolarians Series, upholding an overall continuity while maintaining the integrity of each release. Given this band's history, it would make perfect sense for III to act as a segue to the next recording, where the music will no doubt breathe with a life of its own, albeit in a distinctly different way.

Track Listing: Chantes Des Femmes; Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down; Kota; Undone; Wonton; Walk Back; Jean's Scene; Broken Mirror; Gwyra Mi.

Personnel: John Medeski: keyboards; Billy Martin: drums, percussion; Chris Wood: basses.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Indirecto Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Tangled CD/LP/Track Review Tangled
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Is It Me...? CD/LP/Track Review Is It Me...?
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review Live
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 25, 2017
Read 14.11.2016 CD/LP/Track Review 14.11.2016
by Nicola Negri
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Malnoia CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Dixie Chicken" CD/LP/Track Review Dixie Chicken
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: May 28, 2016
Read "Blood" CD/LP/Track Review Blood
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 14, 2016
Read "Resting in a Fold of the Fog" CD/LP/Track Review Resting in a Fold of the Fog
by John Eyles
Published: March 16, 2017
Read "Nature City" CD/LP/Track Review Nature City
by Henning Bolte
Published: March 23, 2017
Read "Brain//Child" CD/LP/Track Review Brain//Child
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "05:21" CD/LP/Track Review 05:21
by Jim Trageser
Published: November 28, 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!