The Jazz Universe Inside My Head

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Medeski, Martin & Wood

Medeski, Martin & Wood
Saturday April 7, 2006
The Kimmel Center, Philadelphia, PA

After an hour and a half drive to Philly, and another hour and a half to find a hotel under $200, I was ready to relax to some good music. Good thing the reason I made the trek was that MMW was playing an acoustic set at The Kimmel Center and I had a ticket. The venue is a fancy place, the host to many classical shows, and I knew the trio would sound great with the fine acoustics of the establishment. I wasn’t disappointed.
The band jumped right into a groove, led by pianist John Medeski. He looked like a mad scientist behind the keys. It was something that I had never heard before. It was a rush of sound, as all three of the members splattered improv with one another at a cute rate speed. Drummer/Percussionist Billy Martin seemed to be using all he had for sound, which is always numerous sorts of instruments that I have no idea the name for each. I’m talking like drums from the motherland. He was all over the place.
The stage was set up in a way that gave a great view of the entire band. I’m so used to going to see MMW having my head kinked up, looking over people’s shoulders. Looking down from the third tier was great.
After the opening jam, the band went into “Tuttie Ma.” Again, Billy Martin was everywhere. You could here people around laughing that amazed laugh that is sometimes the only way to appreciate a master and his instrument. Oh yea, bassist Chris Wood was on as well. Jumping back and forth from the upright and his Beatle bass he seemed to let the other two take the spotlight, complementing both of their explorations. Medeski tucked in perfectly Miles' theme “In A Silent Way” during one of the tunes. I can’t remember which one, though.
The band went into an extended version of “New New Orleans,” a song I haven’t heard that much even though they have been playing it often. After that, and never stopping the music, they went off into frantic piano, bass, percussion pounding, letting each other take a high energy solo. The audience ate that up, loudly clapping after each turn. After “New New Orleans” the band went into more new improv for my ears. They ended the set with “Chubb Subb” and encored with a beautiful version of “Paris.” A great set from one of the best bands around.

What I’ve Been Listening On:

Oliver Nelson The Blues And The Abstract Truth
Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers Indestructible
Bobby Hutcherson Oblique
Booker T. & The MG’s Melting Pot
John Coltrane Meditations


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