Fri November 3, 2006
Last Call to present Medeski, Scofield, Martin and Wood this weekend
Their second meeting on record continues the tradition
By Chris Cooke
Omaha, Nebraska – John Medeski, Billy Martin and Chris Wood have reunited with Guitarist John Scofield for another acid jazz session. Showing us how it's done, the quartet has released Out Louder.
"It's a match made not above nor below, but rather in some altogether hipper, funkier place. "-allboutjazz.com
Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood first recorded together on Scofield's A Go Go (Verve 1998), a disc that has become a must-have classic. That project united Scofield with the improvisational jazz trio Medeski Martin & Wood on material composed by Scofield and interpreted by all four musicians. However, the recording was essentially Scofield's project.
"A Go Go was John's record and we were essentially sidemen, where Out Louder musically comes from all of us" Wood notes. Scofield adds: "We've always hit it off as a foursome, and I wanted to see what would happen if we did something that was a true collaboration, where everyone could play completely free."
Out Louder was recorded in less than a week at the band's downtown Brooklyn, New York studio, Shacklyn. The result reflects the scruffy basement where the quartet put the tunes on tape. "Something about being down there made the music that much grungier," says Wood. "It gave us that feeling of being a hungry garage band searching for the coolest licks and grooves without worrying about making everything perfect. We could just let it all hang out. Everyone was set up in the same room with all our amps and equipment, and you could feel what everyone else was playing that much better and really react to everything around you."
"Maybe 60% was improvising and writing together," recalls Martin. "We have a typical MMW style which is going into the studio without knowing what we are going to do. We just play together and something will come out of it. We tried a lot of different ideas with John, but the best things seemed to come out of improvisation."
"We played, hit the vibe, improvised and collaborated a lot," continues Medeski. "We'd go back and listen, and expand our ideas into a whole new tune."
"People connect with grooves and funk, they feel it in their gut," Medeski said. "We understand complex harmonies, but in the end we know that you don't have to play all those notes to connect with people. The groove and spirit is what connects with people." Which would explain while the tracks can merit deeper examination, the listener is compelled by the danceable groove throughout to get up and move to the beat.
Chris Cooke will feature music from Medeski Scofield Martin and Woods' latest, Out Louder on the Last Call Saturday night.
Chris Cooke is the host of Last Call on KIOS-FM.