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Medeski  Martin & Wood - 20 CD (album) cover

20

Medeski Martin & Wood

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.00 | 1 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
4 stars MMW's anniversary album is the perfect Jazz collection for people who don't normally listen to Jazz...and a kick in the pants for people that do.

These twenty all-new tracks, recorded to celebrate the band's first two decades together, were released in nine separate installments throughout 2011: two songs per month, except when the schedule was interrupted by the arrival of Hurricane Irene along the eastern American seaboard. The aggregate is now available in a single downloadable package: a godsend to fans, and a great introduction for newcomers to the Brooklyn combo's unique avant-groove style.

Not many groups, and fewer Jazz groups, would dare to combine gospel spirituals with turntable scratching, Holger Czukay airwave samples, and outer space synthetics from "Forbidden Planet"...all within a single track. John Medeski augments his usual piano and Hammond organ with Mellotrons and melodicas; Chris Wood's bass is often distorted to sound like an electric lead guitar; and the artfully sloppy-yet-pinpoint drumming of Billy Martin carries the trio from interstellar freeform explorations to fuzzed-out Space Funk grooviness to voodoo swamp rituals reminiscent of CAN's Ethnological Forgery series of cultural plunders.

The album also includes a few selections mixed by Gregor Asche, alias D.J. Olive: a regular collaborator with the trio, and further evidence of their detachment from Jazz (or even Jazz Rock) traditions. MMW might have the same hipster appeal for listeners with more refined tastes, but how many Jazz albums feature a track vividly described by the title "Fuck You Guys (First Take)"?

This is arguably the band's most representative yet least predictable album, and for that reason alone it deserves wider exposure. The music isn't Prog, but the attitude is progressive, continuing forward into the next twenty years.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |

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