Free Magic

Free Magic
From left: Scofield, Wood, Martin, and Medeski

You're welcome to interpret that as the library giving out some, but it's also the title of the newest creation by Medeski Martin & Wood. Comprised of a collection of recordings from their all-acoustic tour in 2007, it manages to simultaneously surprise and maintain a level of consistency that fans expect.

MMW has been around since 1991 and, like most jazz groups, has a complex history deeply intertwined in collaboration with other musicians. Members John Medeski--piano and keyboard, Billy Martin--drums, and Chris Wood--bass, have each dabbled in many projects over the years individually, and together combine a host of talents and backgrounds. Speaking of jazz, you can think of MMW as that, but such a wide variety of other genres go into it that maybe the most accurate moniker would be experimento-jazz-funk-jam-band. I just made that up, and I'm afraid it's the best I can do to try to describe them.

To see for yourself, check out any of their albums from the library. Don't be daunted if some of their songs start out with odd sounds like pianos being clobbered (just a normal and healthy stage in the piece's development). Here they are:

And here's a small sampling of some of those other projects:

  • Bar Kokhba, John Zorn (1996). John Medeski on organ and piano.
  • Fishing with John, John Lurie (1998). Billy Martin makes an appearance with percussion on several tracks.
  • Ways Not to Lose, Wood Brothers (2006). Chris Wood is one half of the namesake, playing bass of course.
  • Grace Under Pressure, John Scofield (1992).

Although MMW recently passed through Colorado and played an incredible show live in Boulder, unfortunately it looks like they won't be back for a while. But please keep tabs on them here.

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