Description du produit
'There s a rhythmic and sonic connection that we have', says Martin of his MMW colleagues. 'Listening is the most important thing for us. We re having a conversation when we re playing. The dynamic range is much greater in the acoustic setting. When we play electric, everything is turned up to 11 and it s screaming. But with John on piano and Chris on upright, we can play with a much more nuanced touch. It s a very different world, but I love it.' Free Magic opens with 'Doppler', a song from MMW s previous album 20 that was issued last year in celebration of the revered trio s two decades spent as a groundbreaking force in experimental modern jazz. The tune s droning, near-tribal introduction morphs into an earthy, undulating groove that recalls the vintage piano trios of Ahmad Jamal, Ramsey Lewis and Les McCann. Medeski s 'Blues for Another Day' follows with a burst of jagged dissonance that has him channeling his inner Cecil Taylor. From that tumultuous free jazz intro, the performance settles into a slow, bluesy meditation in which the pianist digs deep, testifying with gospel-tinged intensity. Up next is the epic title track that swirls amid a zen-like collective improv by the three kindred spirits on tuned metal percussion, prepared upright piano and bowed harmonics on upright bass before segueing to Medeski s Chopin-influenced 'Ballade in C Minor'. The fourth track selected for inclusion takes things back almost 20 years with an acoustic version of 'Where s Sly' from MMW s 1993 album It s a Jungle in Here. Over the course of 16-minutes, the three musicians take great liberties with the melody and extrapolate freely in typically daring MMW fashion. The closing performance on Free Magic is a savvy piano trio medley of Charles Mingus 'Nostalgia in Times Square' and Sun Ra s anthemic 'Angel Race' which work together perfectly. Wood summons up the spirit of his hero Mingus with his forceful and resonant bass solo on the 'Nostalgia' half of this potent medley. 'This stuff brings it back to when we used to hang out in this rented shack in Hawaii and make music together', says Martin of the music on Free Magic. 'It was really just a little plywood cabin in the jungle with a tin roof. John had a prepared piano there that sounded like a gamelan instrument and I had these funky drums that had mold growing on them, or I might play the side of the shack or play the railing going up the stairs and make it sound like a xylophone. And we d get into a lot of different stuff there, just having musical conversations in this intimate setting.' Over the course of 21 years, Medeski Martin & Wood have forged an indelible chemistry on the bandstand that s fueled countless concerts around the world, as well as, 18 cutting-edge albums. This latest addition to their discography is no exception.
Free Magic: Live is the first release of by trio Medeski Martin & Wood from its third decade of existence. Maybe I should repeat that. This disc is by a jazz band that has remained intact for more than 21 years. Like a family, the trio has born musical genres, specifically the infamous jamband phenomena, matured, and branched out from electric to eclectic. Perhaps MMW's greatest contribution to modern jazz was its DIY touring philosophy. Like punk bands of the 1980s, MMW often toured unsupported (by a record companies), playing gigs in bars and on college campuses, then packing its instruments in a van and playing somewhere else the next day. The group's relentless touring garnered a new audience to its music-and to jazz, for that matter. Along the way, MMW has collaborated with guitarist John Scofield, DJs Olive and Logic, and legendary Sun Ra saxophonist Marshall Allen. This disc follows the live Scofield collaboration, MSMW Live: In Case the World Changes Its Mind (Indirecto, 2011), and digital-only 20 (Indirecto, 2011). Recorded on an all-acoustic tour, these five tracks evidence a hard working trio in full flight. The opener, bassist Chris Wood's 'Doppler', initially finds drummer Billy Martin seeking a groove on the xylophone-sounding African balaphone, while pianist John Medeski works simultaneously on melodica and a toy piano. The music gives way to a piano trio soul-jazz groove as infectious as any mid-1960s Blue Note offering. This is MMW at its finest, Martin shuffling the beat to Wood's rock-solid timekeeping. The genius of this band is that it can disassemble a song and put it all back together almost effortlessly. 'Blues For Another Day' opens in mayhem, Medeski pounding notes à la Cecil Taylor, before the band settles into a gospel-tinged blues. The band feeds off a hypnotizing delivery, both in groove/swing and in instant composing. The title track begins with a metal-on-metal-themed improvisation, drawing attention to the acoustic nature of this tour. The band expands and expands its simple 'Where's Sly' until it becomes an anthem that is bejeweled with Billy Martin's extended drum solo. The band ends at its beginnings. The homage medley 'Nostalgia In Times Square/Angel Race', transfuses Charles Mingus' soul into the stratosphere of Sun Ra's explorations. As with any MMW performance, the destination is not as important as the musical journey. --All About Jazz (Marc Corroto)
It's hard to believe that after more than two decades together playing in all sorts of sonic configurations, Medeski, Martin & Wood haven't released an acoustic trio album since 2000's Tonic. Free Magic remedies that. The set was recorded during their 2007 acoustic tour. There are five tunes in this hour-plus set; four are originals. Chris Wood's 'Doppler' (a studio version appeared on 20 [available on iTunes]) commences as a rhythmic improv with Billy Martin playing balafon (an African cousin to the xylophone) with John Medeski on a toy piano and a melodica, and Wood bowing his upright. The pace gradually increases before a rhythmically repetitive motif introduces itself. After vamping on for a minute, the track shifts gears and becomes a jumping, funky, soul-jazz piano trio tune that suggests, in equal parts, the Impulse-era trios of Ahmad Jamal, and Les McCann's and Ramsey Lewis' mid-'60s groove fests. 'Blues for Another Day' begins as a muscular improvisation that suggests the harmonic nuances of Jaki Byard and the large block-chord architectures of Andrew Hill before it just stops. It restarts as a shimmering, droning blues that builds in intensity; Wood's 3/4 walking on the riff asserts force. Medeski's bright gospel chops intersperse with hard bop as Martin double-, then triple-times the band, with constant motion on the ride cymbal. While the prepared piano in the title track ushers in a percussion improv -- even Wood's bass feels played like a drum -- it eventually gives way to 'Ballade in C Minor, 'Vergessene Seelen'' that evokes the feeling of an Asian folk tune before Wood's Hofner violin bass offers greater contrast, alternating Middle Eastern scalar and Western rock figures. Martin's shuffle pushes him along in assent and Medeski accents the spaces. 'Where's Sly' is pure jazz piano magic that moves through various labyrinthine corridors of harmonic dialogue via lyric and rhythmic invention to become its own post-bop move. The closer is a hard-swinging medley of Charles Mingus' 'Nostalgia in Times Square' and Sun Ra's Angel Race'. MMW build a solid bridge between the tunes with a Latin groove, making them natural hard-bopping companions in the vanguard. Free Magic is more than just another listing in the MMW's CV; it's a document which reveals that at the heart of all the electronically driven funk, groove, and experimentation, these cats are all superior jazz musicians who not only understand the history and vocabulary of the piano trio, but also move it forward into startling new territory. EDITOR RATING: 4 STARS --All Music Guide (Thom Jurek)