|Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood
Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood — Juice
ζ•ζ• Stále se rozvíjející spolupráce mezi Medeski Martin & Wood a kytaristou John Scofield-em nadále vzkvétá. Od prvního svolání téměř před 17 roky, Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood je příbuzenství na scéně a stupňující se míra souhry je nádherně zachycena: Juice — jejich třetí studiové úsilí a čtvrté album celkově je venku 16 září 2014.
Eclectic organist of Medeski, Martin & Wood is a fixture on the NYC scene, bridging pop and avant-garde.
The blueprint for Juice was found in a compilation of African-derived music put together by drummer Billy Martin and shared among the ensemble. “We all love music from Brazil, the Caribbean, and Latin America, and it has always been intertwined with jazz,” explains Medeski. “We got together and started exploring that connection in our own way.”
ζ•ζ• “This is our version of different African-based forms,” Scofield echoes. “Or, at least, that’s what we started with…eventually we said, ‘This is the outline, but we can do whatever the hell we want.’”
J.M. Born: June 8, 1965 in Louisville, KY
Locattion: New York
Album release: September 16, 2014
Record Label: Indirecto Records
01 Sham Time 6:46
02 North London 6:36
03 Louis the Shoplifter 6:12
04 Juicy Lucy 7:07
05 I Know You 8:03
06 Helium 4:06
07 Light My Fire 5:37
08 Sunshine of Your Love 10:55
09 Stovetop 5:32
10 The Times They Are A-Changin' 3:41
ζ•ζ• John Medeski: keyboards;
ζ•ζ• John Scofield: guitar;
ζ•ζ• Billy Martin: drums, cuica, talking drum, caxixi and guiro;
ζ•ζ• Chris Wood: basses.
By TROY COLLINS, Published: September 9, 2014 | Score: ****
ζ•ζ• For over two decades, keyboardist John Medeski, percussionist Billy Martin and bassist Chris Wood‘s abiding fascination with the endless possibilities of groove-based music has taken them from intimate jazz clubs to outdoor festival stages. Their eclectic efforts have included a number of high-profile collaborations; the most prolific and successful has been with esteemed guitarist John Scofield. Following the concert performances issued as In Case the World Changes Its Mind (2011), Juice is their fourth album together since 1998’s pace setting A Go Go (Verve).
ζ•ζ• Where their previous studio recording, Out Louder (2006), emphasized collaboratively written pieces, this session focuses on individually penned numbers and a handful of choice covers, unified by a concentration on infectious Latin rhythms culled from the African diaspora. This song-oriented approach differs dramatically from the spontaneously conceived free-form structures of Woodstock Sessions, Vol. 2 (Woodstock Sessions, 2014), the trio’s dynamic live-in-the-studio experiment with another equally revered guitarist, Nels Cline.
ζ•ζ• Juice opens with a buoyant rendition of Eddie Harris‘ soul jazz classic “Sham Time,” establishing the date’s celebratory mood and sense of camaraderie from the start, fortified by Scofield’s bluesy lyricism, the shimmering warmth of Medeski’s vintage analog keyboards, Wood’s supple contributions and Martin’s shuffling backbeats. Reinforcing the set’s festive atmosphere, “Juicy Lucy” even borrows the iconic riff from “Louie Louie,” transposing the indelible theme into a slinky Afro-Cuban vamp bathed in a scrim of dancehall reverb.
ζ•ζ• In addition to a half-dozen original compositions, ranging from the swinging “North London” to the introspective ballad “I Know You,” the record includes three covers of legendary classic rock tunes. Although using post-war era pop songs as source material for jazz improvisation is hardly a novel concept, how creatively such warhorses are reinterpreted often determines their level of artistic merit.
ζ•ζ• Recast as nostalgic Americana, Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin'” is given a mellow, gospel-inflected reading that sounds downright Frisellian. Their rhapsodic interpretation of The Doors’ “Light My Fire” on the other hand, builds from lite funk to an electrifying climax (courtesy of Scofield’s progressively heated fretwork), but it’s the psychedelic dub deconstruction of Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” that is the most impressively reimagined of the three.
ζ•ζ• Considering its winning combination of tuneful melodies, danceable rhythms and earthy textures, Juice is Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood’s most appealing, cohesive and consistently engaging release to date.
BY S. VICTOR AARON, SEPTEMBER 10, 2014
Born: October 30, 1963 in New York City, NY
Artist Biography by Jesse Jarnow
•↔• With a steady base as one-third of the renowned experimental jazz trio Medeski, Martin, & Wood, drummer Billy Martin has become one of the most forward-thinking, innovative, and influential percussionists in the music world. His ultra-sensitive, hyper-melodic drumming — which explores the ideas of jazz, hip-hop, electronica, African music, and other genres — has an organic feel to it, filled with soft, natural edges and fluid energies.
ζ•ζ• Born in New York City in 1963, Martin was raised in a wholly musical household. His father, a classical violinist, and his mother, a Radio City Music Hall Rockette, encouraged the young Martin in his creative pursuits, though it wasn't until the family moved to suburban New Jersey in 1973 that Martin took up the drums, commandeering his older brother's kit. In the next years, Martin holed himself up in the basement, beginning to learn his instrument, as well as playing in the usual smattering of high school rock bands. During his senior year in high school, Martin began attending classes at the Manhattan School of Music in preparation for his impending enrollment.
ζ•ζ• In 1981, Martin moved back to Manhattan and soon immersed himself in its musical world. Joining the musician's union, Martin quickly found himself behind the percussion kit for a variety of gigs. At the Drummers' Collective, Martin first encountered master percussionist Bob Moses, who would soon become his mentor. There, Martin would begin to expand his musical horizons into bold new areas.
ζ•ζ• Over the next decade, Martin would make a name for himself in New York's downtown jazz scene, playing, touring, and recording regularly in a variety of ensembles, including John Lurie's Lounge Lizards, Brazilian outfit Pe De Moi, samba group Batucada (co-founded with Manuel Montiero), John Zorn's Cobra, and others, including Chuck Mangione, Bobby Previte, and Ned Rothenberg. Through Moses — with whom he recorded on Moses' duet album, Drumming Birds — he was introduced to bassist Chris Wood and organist John Medeski. The duo invited Martin to join them on a regular gig at the Village Gate. Thus, Medeski, Martin, & Wood was born.
ζ•ζ• In the next years, Martin would balance his work with MMW with his other regular gigs. As MMW gained momentum, though, they logically began to take precedence. Martin acted as the band's first manager, sending out press kits and recordings to clubs from his father's office in New Jersey (as well as serving as MMW's de facto mechanic on the road).
ζ•ζ• The trio built up a following through constant gigging and the recording of several groundbreaking records, including 1991's self-released Notes from the Underground, 1993's It's a Jungle in Here, 1995's Friday Afternoon in the Universe, and 1996's Shack-Man (all on Gramavision). By then, the band had earned its distinct place in the elite: boldly avant-garde, but also remarkably danceable. High-profile gigs opening for Phish only bolstered their reputation as a raging outfit.
ζ•ζ• In 1998, Martin established his own Amulet Records imprint, where he released recordings of himself and Calvin Weston, as well as experimental discs, such as the breakbeat vinyl-only release of illy B Eats and the solo percussion disc Black Elk Speaks (both in 2001). Martin continues to tour and record with MMW, also finding time to curate shows in Manhattan, as well as be with his wife, Phaedra, and his child, born in the summer of 2001. Martin continued his membership in MMW, but also released more than a handful of solo offerings on his label, in various personnel settings, live and in the studio. In addition, Tzadik issued his beautiful Starlings album in 2005, a collection of pieces for chamber music and percussion. In 2012, Royal Potato Factory released Shimmy, a duet album with keyboardist Wil Blades.
Artist Biography by Joslyn Layne
•↔• Medeski, Martin and Wood bassist Chris Wood studied composition, and jazz and classical bass in his hometown Boulder, Colorado. In 1989, he went to the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, and studied with Dave Holland, Geri Allen and Bob Moses, but soon changed his enrollment to part-time in order to play with Moses. In 1990, the two musicians toured as sidemen for an Israeli saxophonist with another U.S. musician, John Medeski. After they returned, Wood and Medeski got involved with NYC's downtown scene. Besides being one third of MMW, Wood has performed with many musicians, including Marc Ribot, Elliot Sharp, Ned Rothenberg, John Zorn, and Sam Bennett, in his group Chunk.
Liz Penta: Emcee Artist Management