In January of 1999, Medeski, Martin, and Wood held a series of five shows at the Bowery Ballroom with a number of guests featured at each show. The shows were held as part of Blue Note’s 60th anniversary, as MMW had recently signed to the label and released their Combustication album. (For kicks, go ahead and compare Blue Note at 60 with Blue Note at 75 from last year.) There are many highlights from this set of five shows, but I recently re-listened to the January 16th recordings and was much impressed with "Scrontch Meister," a Bob Moses-penned tune that the trio played only during this run as far as I can find and whose title probably provokes either a love or hate reaction - well, you’ll probably want to check out the music either way. While the Bowery shows featured many guests, this tune is just John Medeski on keys, Billy Martin on drums, and Chris Wood on bass, playing a really great version of their groove-heavy jazz on a catchy tune that deserves a re-visit. Audio courtesy of The Shack Project, which has the whole January 16th show (and plenty of other live MMW) streaming here. (Stick with them for the nice improv that follows "Scrontch Meister" featuring Oren Bloedow on guitar.)
As if things haven't been busy enough for Medeski Martin & Wood, the hits just keep on coming. Just a couple months ago, the trio teamed up with guitarist Nels Cline to release the live recording Woodstock Sessions, Vol. 2, but that was just them getting warmed up for 2014. Come September, pianist John Medeski, drummer Billy Martin, and bassist Chris Wood are set to release their new album Juice alongside their regular collaborator, guitarist John Scofield, on MMW's own Indirecto Records.
Medeski, Martin, and Wood have been putting together heavy grooves with Medeski’s organ and keyboard sounds for a couple of decades now. They have collaborated with Scotty Hard, DJ Logic and DJ Olive, among others, bringing electronic textures into the music and with lots of other forward-thinking musicians (the Antibalas horns, Marc Ribot, Danny Blume, John Scofield, Charlie Hunter, etc., etc.). Most recently, the trio collaborated with guitarist Nels Cline (from Wilco) to record Woodstock Sessions, a live album recorded in the studio. Woodstock Sessions will be available on April 15, but you can pre-order through iTunes and get a free download of the track "Jade" ahead of the full-album release.
Check out "Jade" and "Bonjour Breeze" from the album after the jump.
Hot on the trail of their double album with guitarist John Scofield last year, Before the World Changes Its Mind, Medeski Martin & Wood are getting ready to release a new/old album, Free Magic, a collection of acoustic songs out September 25th. The songs all come from the group's first-ever acoustic tour from back in 2007.
Big Hassle Media
VONGOLE FILMS TO RELEASE LIFE ON DRUMS DVD OCTOBER 8
An evocative, educational exploration of the creative inspiration at work behind the trap set, directed by and featuring Billy Martin of [Medeski Martin and Wood]
Life on Drums, to be released on DVD via Vongole Films on October 8, is a refreshing reinvention of the instructional video, blending a cinematic visual sense with an approach to instruction that prizes the intuitive and the creative over the merely technical. Conceived by, directed by, and featuring the endlessly musical drummer, percussionist and teacher Billy Martin (Medeski Martin and Wood), Life on Drums is a riveting extension of his open-ended approach to percussion, improvisation, and music.