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.
The first record I bought was Miles Smiles. Having been a drummer since age two, hearing a young Tony Williams opened up so many possibilities for a 14 year old church drummer. My life changed that day and I've never looked back!