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.
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.