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MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States


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Medeski Martin & Wood biography
Medeski, Martin & Wood is a Jazz-Rock trio from New York, USA, formed in 1991 in Brooklyn. They have a unique style inspired by each member's influences (Medeski was a classical music player (and then he became a jazz one), Martin liked Zappa, Kiss, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Sly and the Family Stone, James Brown and Jimi Hendrix, Wood was into the sixties rock bands, and later into jazz). John Medeski (keyboards) and Chris Wood (basses) met themselves at Boston's New England Conservatory of Music and they both decided to move to New York City, where they would discover the city's promising jazz scene. They would also meet Billy Martin there.
They began trying to combine hypnotic textures and sounds with hip-hop beats and jazz improvisation. Their first album, Notes From the Underground, came out in 1991. Since then, they created their own record company (Indirecto), toured all around the world, and made eleven other studio albums, including one with John Scofield (Out Louder) and another composed by John Zorn (Zaebos).
Members:
- John Medeski: Piano, Organ, Wurlitzer, Clavinet, Hammond B-3 Organ, Electric Piano, Pianet T, Toy Piano, Yamaha CSO1 II, Keyboards
- Billy Martin: Drums, Percussions
- Chris Wood: Acoustic Bass, Harmonica, Wood Flute, Electric Basses, Guitar, Bass Drum


Gabriel Rivest (Tsevir Leirbag)

Medeski Martin & Wood official website

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Medeski/Martin/Wood - Vol. 11-Zaebos: The Book Of Angels [CD New] US $15.42 Buy It Now 9h 10m
Medeski Martin & Wood : Combustication CD (1998) US $3.60 Buy It Now 9h 25m
MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD RADIOLARIANS II SEALED CD 2009 2 US $6.77 Buy It Now 9h 59m
MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD**1998-2005: NOTE BLEU(DLX ED)**CD US $15.74 Buy It Now 12h 42m
Combusticationáby Medeski Martin & Wood Vinyl Record (2014) Brand New US $41.99 Buy It Now 13h 35m
Farmer's Reserve by Medeski, Martin & Wood (CD, Apr-2007, MRI Associated Labels) US $6.68 Buy It Now 16h 20m
Radiolarians III by Medeski, Martin & Wood (CD, Aug-2009, Indirecto) US $6.30 Buy It Now 16h 21m
Dropper, Medeski Martin & Wood, Very Good US $3.50 Buy It Now 19h 21m
Medeski, Martin & Wood Univisable Blue Note Jazz Trio 2002 cd US $1.99 [0 bids]
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20h 46m
Medeski Martin & Wood - Bubblehouse CD Maxi Single 1997 US $5.49 [0 bids]
20h 55m
Medeski, Martin & Wood - Combustication CD (1998) US $5.49 [0 bids]
20h 55m
MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD best of blue note years note bleu CD SEALED LU10 US $7.99 Buy It Now 21h 24m
Medeski, Martin & Wood- Notes from the Underground CD 2007 Remastered NEW SEALED US $5.99 [0 bids]
21h 39m
MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD + NELS CLINE - WOODSTOCK SESSIONS - BURNWS002 US $22.12 Buy It Now 1 day
Combustication by MMW Medeski Martin & Wood (CD, Aug-1998, Blue Note) US $0.99 [0 bids]
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Medeski Martin & Wood - SUGARCRAFT Promo only 2 mix 12" Single US $7.77 [0 bids]
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Medeski Martin & Wood Radiolarians Evolutionary Box Set US $53.00 [2 bids]
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Combustication by Medeski, Martin & Wood (CD, Aug-1998, Blue Note (Label)) US $4.75 [0 bids]
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Dropper, Medeski Martin & Wood, New US $28.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Combustication by Medeski, Martin & Wood (CD, Aug-1998, Blue Note (Label)) US $6.99 [0 bids]
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Combustication~Medeski Martin & Wood (CD, 1998, Blue Note CDP-7243) US $1.95 [0 bids]
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CD MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD Tonic CANADA US $5.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Medeski Martin & Wood Dropper (Dig) VG+ 3DayShip - Addl Discs Ship Free CD US $1.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Medeski Martin & Wood - Combustication (1998) - Used - Compact Disc US $1.37 Buy It Now 2 days
CD: Uninvisible - Medeski/Martin/Wood - Sealed US $17.30 Buy It Now 2 days
Medeski Martin Wood - Friday Afternoon CD US $14.94 Buy It Now 2 days
Medeski Martin Wood - Radiolarians I CD US $12.94 Buy It Now 2 days
Medeski Martin Wood - Radiolarians Iii CD US $12.94 Buy It Now 2 days
Medeski Martin & Wood - Free Magic CD US $12.94 Buy It Now 2 days
Medeski Martin Wood - Notes From The Underground CD US $13.19 Buy It Now 2 days
Medeski Martin Wood - Farmers Reserve CD US $13.19 Buy It Now 2 days
MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD - SHACK-MAN - GCD79514 US $15.43 Buy It Now 2 days
Uninvisible by Medeski, Martin & Wood (CD, Mar-2002, Toshiba Emi) US $0.99 [1 bids]
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MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD - END OF THE WORLD PARTY: JUST IN CASE (DIGIPAK) NEW CD US $18.66 Buy It Now 2 days
NEW Free Magic: Live * by Medeski, Martin & Wood (2 Vinyls, Mar-2013, Indirecto) US $2.10 [2 bids]
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End of the World Party (Just in Case) [Digipak] by Medeski, Martin US $6.73 Buy It Now 2 days
Notes From the Underground, Medeski Martin & Wood, Good Extra tracks, Original r US $8.37 Buy It Now 3 days
Medeski,martin & Wood - Bubblehouse (1997) - Used - Compact Disc US $1.37 Buy It Now 3 days
Radiolarians II, Medeski Martin & Wood, New US $10.19 Buy It Now 3 days
Medeski Martin & Wood "End Of The World Party" LP Vinyl Gatefold US $39.00 [1 bids]
3 days
Medeski Martin & Wood "Radiolarians: The Evolutionary Set" LP Vinyl 5CD+1DVD+2LP US $59.00 [1 bids]
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Medeski/Martin/Wood - End Of The World Party [CD New] US $8.94 Buy It Now 3 days
MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD It's A Jungle In Here CD 1993 Rykodisc Green Jewel Case US $3.99 [0 bids]
3 days
MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD Friday Afternoon In The Universe CD 1995 Gramavision Ryko US $3.99 [0 bids]
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MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD Uninvisible CD 2002 Blue Note Records DIGIPAK BMG Club MMW US $3.99 [0 bids]
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MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD Combustication CD 1998 Blue Note Records DIGIPAK Capitol US $3.99 [0 bids]
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Medeski Martin & Wood - "Combustication Remix EP 2" Blue Note Guru Automator mix US $36.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Medeski Martin & Wood - Uninvisible CD US $16.24 Buy It Now 3 days
Medeski Martin Wood - Vol. 11-Zaebos: The Book Of Angels CD US $18.11 Buy It Now 3 days
Medeski Martin Wood - End Of The World Party CD US $16.15 Buy It Now 3 days
Medeski Martin & Wood - "Free Magic" 2x12" LP US Indirecto Records, IR14 Jazz US $24.99 Buy It Now 4 days
MEDESKI, MARTIN & WO - TONIC [MEDESKI, MARTIN & WOOD] - NEW CD US $4.73 Buy It Now 4 days
Combustication Remix [EP] [EP] by Medeski, Martin & Wood (CD, Apr-1999, Blue... US $3.50 [0 bids]
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Mouth Music, Dr Didg, Medeski Martin & Wood, Last Poets - U.S. PROMO cd US $7.98 Buy It Now 4 days
Friday Afternoon in the Universe, Medeski Martin & Wood, Wood, Chr, Good US $6.99 Buy It Now 4 days
Friday Afternoon in the Universe by Medeski, Martin & Wood (CD, Jan-1995,... US $1.50 [0 bids]
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Medeski Martin & Wood Coalition Of Independent Music Stores Sampler 4 tracks US $3.00 Buy It Now 4 days
Medeski Martin & Wood : Combustication Remix Ep CD (1999) US $3.96 Buy It Now 4 days
Medeski Martin & Wood,CD,BMG Direct,Combustication US $4.00 Buy It Now 4 days
The Dropper [LP] by Medeski Martin & Wood- Sealed. Oct-2000, Blue Note Records US $9.99 [1 bids]
5 days
x2 Medeski Martin & Wood '98 Combustication 12trk Promo +'99 ReMix EP Blue Note US $12.74 Buy It Now 5 days
Tonic by Medeski, Martin & Wood (CD, May-2000, EMI) US $2.99 Buy It Now 5 days
Friday Afternoon in the Universe by Medeski, Martin & Wood (CD, Jan-1995,... US $6.49 Buy It Now 5 days
KING BRITT Medeski Martin & Wood DJ LOGIC Charlie Hunter Quintet jazz comp CD US $11.99 Buy It Now 5 days
MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD 'Combustication' Blue Note 75 Series Vinyl LP NEW & SEALED US $35.76 Buy It Now 5 days
MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD Combustication Remix EP UK Digipak CD Blue Note NEAR MINT US $14.25 Buy It Now 6 days
V.A.Voir magazine present Rythmes Du Monde W/Wyclef Jean, Medeski Martin US $6.95 [0 bids]
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MEDESKI*MARTIN*WOOD Live In Japan Ltd Ed Stone #4 CD! US $29.99 Buy It Now 6 days
MEDESKI , MARTIN & WOOD "SELECTIONS FROM Combustication LP" US $9.99 [0 bids]
6 days
Shack-Man by Medeski, Martin & Wood (CD, Oct-1996, Gramavision Records (USA)) US $10.00 [0 bids]
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It's a Jungle in Here, Medeski Martin & Wood, Wood, Chr, Very Good US $2.98 Buy It Now 6 days
Oren Bloedow CD Luckiest Boy In the World MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD Elysian Fields ! US $7.00 Buy It Now 6 days
Tonic by Medeski, Martin & Wood (CD, May-2000, EMI) US $1.79 Buy It Now 6 days
Medeski, Martin & Wood Bubblehouse CD 1997 Gramavision VG US $4.99 Buy It Now 6 days
Medeski Martin Wood Shack-man CD 1996 VG US $4.99 Buy It Now 6 days
Medeski/Martin/Wood - Radiolarians Iii [CD New] US $9.25 Buy It Now 7 days
Medeski/Martin/Wood - Radiolarians Ii [CD New] US $9.21 Buy It Now 7 days
MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD - FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVER - GCD79503 US $15.28 Buy It Now 7 days
Tonic by Medeski, Martin & Wood (CD, CAPITOL RECORDS) Jazz,Live album US $4.99 Buy It Now 7 days
MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD - RADIOLARIANS 2 (DIGIPAK) NEW CD US $14.80 Buy It Now 7 days
Radiolarians II [Slimline] by Medeski, Martin & Wood (CD, Apr-2009, Indirecto) US $6.24 Buy It Now 7 days
MEDESKI MARTIN WOOD Combustication promo 1998 CD Full Length 12 tracks US $5.99 Buy It Now 7 days
Notes from the Underground by Medeski, Martin & Wood (CD, Apr-2007, MRI... US $5.73 Buy It Now 7 days
Radiolarians I [Digipak] by Medeski, Martin & Wood (CD, Sep-2008, Indirecto) US $6.20 Buy It Now 7 days
Tonic by Medeski, Martin & Wood (CD, May-2000, EMI) US $2.19 Buy It Now 7 days
MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD Tonic CD BRAND NEW US $17.76 Buy It Now 7 days
Medeski, Martin & Wood - It's a Jungle in Here (1995) CD US $11.87 Buy It Now 7 days
MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD - RADIOLARIANS 3 (DIGIPAK) NEW CD US $14.80 Buy It Now 8 days
Medeski Martin & Wood Let's Go Everywhere VG NoCase 3Day-AddlCDsShipFree CD US $10.99 Buy It Now 9 days
Dropper by Medeski Martin & Wood Japan CD W/OBI Brand New US $8.79 Buy It Now 9 days
Medeski Martin & Wood - Tonic CD Blue Note jam funk jazz US $3.99 Buy It Now 9 days
Medeski Martin & Wood , Audio CD, Combustication Remix US $6.70 Buy It Now 9 days
Medeski, Martin & Wood - "Tonic " US $4.96 [0 bids]
9 days
Medeski Martin & Wood - Best Of Last Chance To Dance T (1999) - Used - Comp US $1.37 Buy It Now 10 days
BLUE NOTE 1999 Sampler CD Medeski, Martin & Wood, Jason Moran Jazz Promo Only NM US $5.99 Buy It Now 10 days
Uninvisible - Medeski/martin/wood US $10.24 Buy It Now 10 days
Shack-Man by Medeski, Martin & Wood (CD, Oct-1996, Gramavision) Mint #DK22 US $6.98 Buy It Now 10 days
MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD - Shack-man (CD 1996) USA Import EXC US $8.45 Buy It Now 10 days
Free Magic: Live [Digipak] * by Medeski, Martin & Wood (CD, 2012, Indirecto) US $6.10 Buy It Now 10 days
MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD - FARMER'S RESERVE (DIGIPAK) NEW CD US $14.80 Buy It Now 10 days

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MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.96 | 4 ratings
Notes from the Underground
1992
3.50 | 2 ratings
It's A Jungle In Here
1993
4.43 | 7 ratings
Friday Afternoon in the Universe
1995
4.00 | 3 ratings
Shack-Man
1996
2.50 | 2 ratings
Farmer's Reserve
1997
4.00 | 7 ratings
Combustication
1998
3.91 | 8 ratings
The Dropper
2000
3.07 | 8 ratings
Uninvisible
2002
3.10 | 14 ratings
End of the World Party
2004
3.44 | 9 ratings
Out Louder
2006
0.00 | 0 ratings
Mago
2007
3.00 | 7 ratings
Let's Go Everywhere
2008
3.92 | 6 ratings
Zaebos
2008
4.00 | 6 ratings
Radiolarians I
2008
3.67 | 9 ratings
Radiolarians II
2009
4.44 | 7 ratings
Radiolarians III
2009

MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 4 ratings
Tonic
2000
2.67 | 3 ratings
Electric Tonic
2001
4.90 | 2 ratings
The Stone: Issue Four
2010
3.10 | 2 ratings
MSMW Live: In Case the World Changes Its Mind
2011
3.14 | 3 ratings
Free Magic
2012

MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

2.00 | 1 ratings
Fly in a Bottle
2011

MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 2 ratings
Last Chance to Dance Trance (perhaps)
1999
5.00 | 1 ratings
Note Bleu: Best Of The Blue Note Years 1998-2005
2006
0.00 | 0 ratings
Radiolarians: the Evolutionary Set
2009

MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Bubblehouse
1997
0.00 | 0 ratings
Combustication Remixes
1999

MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Fly in a Bottle by MEDESKI  MARTIN & WOOD album cover DVD/Video, 2011
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Fly in a Bottle
Medeski Martin & Wood Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
2 stars The first official DVD from the celebrated Brooklyn Jazz combo is a handmade bag of mixed blessings. Filmed on- and (mostly) off-stage while the trio was recording the "Radiolarian" albums, the video offers an invaluable glimpse at the mundane routines of early 21st century music-making: rehearsals, repairs, equipment set-up and so forth, intermixed with occasional performance footage, both in concert and in the studio. But it's hard to imagine even a diehard fan watching it from start to finish more than once.

The project was drummer Billy Martin's baby: he produced and directed it, helped with the editing, and was responsible for much of the camerawork (camcorder-work, more precisely). The aim might have been to capture the improvisational nature of the MMW sound in a likewise spontaneous video document, but the home-movie aesthetic doesn't exactly flatter such an otherwise sophisticated band. Don't be surprised to find your attention wandering after only a few minutes, long before the boilerplate music-video segments showing the trio frolicking in a glade of butterflies, or the endless footage shot out the window of their travelling tour van.

Maybe the band's intuitive creativity can't be captured like the eponymous fly. None of the three musicians is very articulate, communicating best through the music itself, or in a barely audible verbal shorthand (no one was wearing a microphone). The presence of a camera, however discreet, might have also been an inhibiting factor. But the film becomes more compelling when it shows the music actually coming to life, sometimes out of thin air. Standing at John Medeski's shoulder while he tickles the ivories of his piano, or plucks its guts with a flathead screwdriver, is a privilege not soon forgotten. The astonishing grace and dexterity of his organ solo while recording "Broken Mirror" (from the "Radiolarians III" album) is the highlight of the disc, all-too briefly bringing it too vivid life.

"Some people are born cool", says bassist Chris Wood at one point, with self-deprecating humor. "And some people have to practice." Following the band throughout "Fly in a Bottle" (an odd title, by the way...wouldn't "Lightning in a Bottle" have been better? Or maybe "Fly on a Wall?"), it's obvious MMW works very hard to achieve their distinctive musical cool. But as filmmakers they could use a little more practice.

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 Free Magic by MEDESKI  MARTIN & WOOD album cover Live, 2012
3.14 | 3 ratings

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Free Magic
Medeski Martin & Wood Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Their first acoustic live album since the year 2000 "Tonic" finds the eclectic fusioneers of MMW resting on their gilded laurels after the ambitious "Radiolarians" project. It might be only a stopgap release to pacify fans who haven't seen a new studio album from the band in nearly four years, but you won't hear too many complaints: with the exception of a Charles Mingus / Sun Ra medley the music is all new, and the performances typically dynamic.

The stage recording follows the same general direction of their (mostly) unplugged "Radiolarian" cycle, and the lack of electronics preserves the wonderfully clear and uncluttered sound of those albums. The band was performing to bigger crowds in larger venues, somewhat atypically for an acoustic jazz combo. But of course MMW were never traditional jazzers.

Other influences continue to loom large: rock 'n' roll; roadhouse funk; grunge; blues; swing; avant-garde improvisation; trip-hop grooves; gospel; psychedelia; so forth and so on. These are musicians not above using a child's toy piano (in "Doppler") to achieve the right effect, or borrowing esoteric World Music influences when necessary: note the heady ethnic aroma of Turkish kebab drifting into the title track. That it all fits together so easily is a huge part of the eponymous magic here.

The selections are mostly in the 15-minute range, but half that length in each number is usually reserved for some very un-jazz-like atonal soundscapes: think of "Starless"-era KING CRIMSON, unplugged. The innovations of other MMW albums are lacking, but it's a solid set, showing a unique trio at ease within their comfort zone. The magic may be free, but the music is priceless, even when it isn't pushing back any new borders.

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 Radiolarians III by MEDESKI  MARTIN & WOOD album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.44 | 7 ratings

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Radiolarians III
Medeski Martin & Wood Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

5 stars The last chapter in a trilogy of likeminded Medeski Martin & Wood albums completed one of the major cycles of original music so far this young century. Radiolarians (for all you biology class dropouts) were Cambrian Age amoeboid protozoa known for their fascinating skeletal structure, which the Brooklyn trio embraced as a simile for their own organic instrumental forms.

Just don't call it Jazz, or even Jazz Rock. MMW specialize in an altogether different blend of acoustic and electric fusion, skipping lightly over counter-intuitive styles with the same joy and dexterity of Gene Kelly dodging raindrops. From outer atmosphere improvisations to inner city shuffles to hybrid psychedelic gospel reggae-rock vamps (the latter in "Gwyra Mi": hear it to believe it), this is an album much easier to enjoy than it is to pin down.

The entire "Radiolarian" series was road-tested before any actual studio recording, and internalized down to the level of their collective DNA. The result is a body of music not so much composed as captured in mid-air. Every track was developed with the freedom of performance found only in Jazz, while employing all the stylistic liberties of Progressive Rock.

This last and best set begins with one of the band's trademark unplugged jams, nervous and jerky but swinging in a way sure to please your inner beatnik. The production has a thrilling immediacy that puts the listener in the same room while the trio works its magic: sometimes it's difficult to say if the musicians are playing their instruments, or the other way around.

Keyboardist John Medeski is all over every cut, but his astonishing unplugged piano solo in "Jean's Scene" remains a highlight not just of the album but of his ongoing career. He then immediately turns around and works similar alchemy on his Hammond B3 organ, in "Broken Mirror" (that exotic zither-like sound is him plucking the piano strings using a flathead screwdriver).

And listen to his frantic yet tasteful intro to the traditional hymn "Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down", another in the occasional series of New Orleans voodoo spirituals re-visited by the band. Chris Wood's distorted bass guitar offers the perfect counterpoint to Medeski's raucous piano, sounding like Old Scratch himself come to collect your wayward soul. And the final piece to a very eclectic puzzle is Billy Martin's seemingly unstructured but always pinpoint drumming: check out his restless toe-tapping vitality in "Walk Back".

Put all three albums together (see the "Radiolarians Evolutionary" box set) and you have a career-defining collection of modern music. But separately each is still an essential package, Volume III perhaps most of all. I'd been wondering how to best justify my five-star rating here, but then realized I wouldn't have to: the music did it all by itself.

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 End of the World Party by MEDESKI  MARTIN & WOOD album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.10 | 14 ratings

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End of the World Party
Medeski Martin & Wood Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD is a band i've heard about from time to time but until recently i'd never heard any of their tunes. This particular album is apparently one of their more accessible ones and is rated as one of their top recordings by fans on a few different sites. The surprise for me was how funky this is and how it grooves. Also there's lots of mellotron and clavinet which also surprised me. It's an all-instrumental affair.

"Anonymous Skulls" has plenty of piano and organ and the mellotron late sounds great. "End Of The World Party" is a catchy number with lots of mellotron and what sounds like vocal melodies. Keyboards, drums and bass are also outfront. "Reflector" sounds better with the guitar and darker sound. Lots of piano then the clavinet comes in kicking some ass. "Bloody Oil" opens with bass and cymbals and actually sounds like Jazz for the first time on this album. Organ joins in too. One of my favs right here. "New Planet" opens with drums and some silly sounds. Clavinet comes to the fore. This sounds better 2 minutes in when the guitar arrives. "Mami Gato" opens with a beat as bass and piano help out. This continues throughout.

"Shine It" is another catchy tune with drums and piano leading. "Curtis" sounds like more of the same except we get some outfront clavinet. "Ice" is again more of the piano, bass and drums leading the way until late when it becomes orchestral sounding. "Sasa" sounds great once it gets going. Lots of clavinet and funk. "Midnight Poppies/Crooked Birds" starts out with bass and atmosphere as the organ floats. It becomes spacey 2 minutes in then the second half of this track kicks in. "Queen Bee" sounds good with the keyboards, drums and intricate sounds. Catchy stuff. Cool track.

While I do feel that this one should be rated higher on here than it is, I have to agree with my two collaborators on the 3 stars.

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 MSMW Live: In Case the World Changes Its Mind by MEDESKI  MARTIN & WOOD album cover Live, 2011
3.10 | 2 ratings

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MSMW Live: In Case the World Changes Its Mind
Medeski Martin & Wood Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Guitarist John Scofield is almost an unofficial fourth member of the celebrated Brooklyn avant-jazz trio Medeski Martin & Wood, after enlisting the band for his 1998 solo album "A Go Go", and later returning the favor on the 2006 Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood album "Out Louder".

In truth the quartet should be considered an entirely different band, far enough removed from the forward-thinking aims of MMW to deserve a separate page here at Prog Archives. The larger group is a perfect match of likeminded musical minds, but the four-way collaboration lacks the adventurous spirit of MMW proper, settling instead for the no less groovy but hardly progressive sound of a totally professional and very talented jazz-rock jam band.

Regarding this two-disc live package: the not-so-good news is that the material is drawn almost entirely from the "A Go Go" and "Out Louder" albums, and thus highlight that same, slightly compromised mainstream reduction of the more challenging MMW aesthetic. The compact disc gives no indication of where and when the gig was recorded, but it sounds like a performance supporting the '06 release of "Out Louder", belatedly assembled half a decade later.

The good news is that on stage, in front of what sounds like a raucous crowd of obvious fans, the music comes to life in a way it never did in the studio. The jamming format of the touring quartet allows for lots of soloing, and quite a few tracks are here extended way beyond their original length.

Each musician has his turn in the spotlight, including the rhythm section: check out the startling unaccompanied acoustic bass intro to "Cachaša", or drummer Billy Martin's spasmodic be-bop solo at the start of "Miles Behind". But over the length of two discs you'll also find many long episodes of indiscriminate, self-indulgent noodling (during "Hanuman", "Hottentot", and the almost thirteen-minute title track), when the music refuses to gel.

MSMW may not compare well to MMW, but why compare them at all? The quartet is more like a side project, where the moonlighting artists can forget their more eclectic, experimental instincts and simply have fun playing together. Listeners can enjoy this set in much the same way, without the burden of higher expectations.

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 The Stone: Issue Four by MEDESKI  MARTIN & WOOD album cover Live, 2010
4.90 | 2 ratings

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The Stone: Issue Four
Medeski Martin & Wood Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Quite successful for progressive jazz fusion releases year 2010 was finished with excellent live release from leading US nu jazz band - Medeski Martin and Wood. This live show was recorded in Japan and released in series of Stone music club releases (under the Zorn's Tzadik label umbrella) to support club's activities.

Musicians play all-acoustic and sound quality is excellent. In combination with very enthusiastic public and excellent track list, this release could be placed between best 2010 contemporary jazz/fusion recordings.Based mostly on funky piano sound, music has enough space for all three musicians though. It's so fantastic to hear that modern jazz fusion music could be such groovy, emotional and accessible at the same time without being cheesy or mellow! Don't be afraid of all-acoustic sound there - nothing sounds dated or old-fashioned on this album!

Tunes are great, musicianship is excellent, and even if this album doesn't bring you more experimental elements or unusual sounds ( even opposite - this music sounds a bit conservative as for such innovative band), this release is excellent demonstration of all best sides MM&W are so known about.

Excellent album for any lover of funky jazz fusion, and great entry for everyone searching on his way to modern jazz fusion! Very recommended.

My rating is 4,5,rounded to 5!

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 End of the World Party by MEDESKI  MARTIN & WOOD album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.10 | 14 ratings

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End of the World Party
Medeski Martin & Wood Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Man With Hat
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion Team

3 stars End of the world dance party.

Medeski Martain & Wood are usually all about the groove. This album is the epitome of that style. Every song locks in to a groove and doesn't back down. Bass churns, drums keep time, keys solo away/provide atmosphere, all in the attempt to support a single rhythmic function. I have to agree with the reviewer above me...this album's biggest problem is the lack of diversity. The best songs on the album add a little something extra to the mix, but at the end of the day, are in the same spirit of the rest of the songs on the album. And that spirit is groovy. Other MM&W albums embrace other musical approaches, which is one of my favorite things about this band. They aren't afraid to do something different and are (seemingly) willing to try anything once. That philosophy doesn't hold as much water here, which is unfortunate.

However, this album does have some stand out tracks that make this album worth it. It begins incredibly strong with Anonymous Skulls, one of my favorite MM&W tracks. The groove is well established, but the creepy atmosphere teamed up with some more uncomfortable sounds produced makes this song stand out in the crowd. End Of The World Party is an interesting track, with some terrible vinyl scratching's added. But beyond that, the song is solid. Bloody Oil is also a top tier track that is just as enjoyable as any song from any other album. Sadly, after Bloody Oil, the album takes a turn for the monotonous, until the end. New Planet through Sasa set up the groove and keep it going. Honestly, there is little if anything to set each track apart from the next. A groove is established, the drums hold things down, something solos, a melody is repeated, the song ends. (Or something close to that anyway.) While none of the songs or playing is bad, nothing is particularly excellent. Luckily, it does pick up again at the end with Midnight Poppies/Crooked Birds, a track with excellent atmosphere that doesn't rely on a groove (at least the Midnight Poppies bit) and Queen Bee, with some nice guitar work (although, I think it could be used more effectively). Additionally, the guest work here is a nice diversifier, and the additional instruments do spruce up the songs they are in.

All in all, this is a good album, but only that. Also, there is really limited rock on this album at all. Its all groovy modern jazz. I wouldn't start my MM&W adventure here, but if you are already a fan, and especially if you prefer there groovy, jazzy side, this is probably worth it. Is this the last album I ever want to hear? No. But come the day, I'll try to slip it into the rotation. 3 stars.

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 Uninvisible by MEDESKI  MARTIN & WOOD album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.07 | 8 ratings

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Uninvisible
Medeski Martin & Wood Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Not too many active bands enjoy the privilege of having a peerless critical reputation equal to the reach of their talent and ambition. The trio of MEDESKI MARTIN AND WOOD is one such group, succeeding over the years in upending the otherwise stale traditions of modern Jazz (not unlike what RADIOHEAD did to Indie Rock circa "Kid A" and "Amnesiac"), in this case by adding a healthy measure of trip-hop grooves, ambient electronica, and retro-Prog improvisation.

By the turn of the last century the Brooklyn combo had positioned itself as the aesthetic heir to the legacy of post-"Bitches Brew" MILES DAVIS, expanding the psychedelic avant-funk experiments pioneered by the erstwhile jazz trumpeter during the seminal "On The Corner" sessions, but updated to a new millennium and stripped down from the large-scale ensemble noise of Davis' bands from the 1970s.

This year 2002 recording offers a perfect example of the MMW sound: a deft instrumental blend of distorted Hammond organ and relentless (albeit swinging) rhythms, all of it bathed in a halo of reverb and echo effects. And this time around the dirty urban funk is augmented by even more turntable scratching and crunchy guitar accompaniment, and by the addition to the mix of the occasional horn arrangement (in strictly homeopathic doses, and often heavily treated: listen to the track "Nocturnal Transmission" for details).

In truth this effort breaks no new ground from its immediate studio predecessors, the aptly- titled 1998 album "Combustication" and the year 2000 freakout of "The Dropper". The haphazard narration of "Your Name Is Snake Anthony" duplicates (but improves on) the likeminded reminiscence of Combustication's "Whatever Happened to Gus", and guest star DJ Olive fills the same role here as DJ Logic on the earlier album. Elsewhere, the game of ping-pong heard behind the suitably groovy beat of the album closer "Off the Table" recalls an identical bit of audio-verite from the Krautrockers of CAN (see their self- titled 1979 album, aka "Inner Space").

So there's a lingering sense throughout the album that the trio is merely treading water. But not without their usual energy or style: check out John Medeski's amusing pitch-bent, drunken keyboard solo at the end of "Take Me Nowhere", or the smoky space-lounge atmospherics of "Where Have You Been?" (with its clusters of eerie Mellotron chords)

Bands of this caliber typically carry a heavy load of high expectations with every new album. But such a creative outfit like MMW should be allowed the luxury of stopping every so often to survey the new territory they've recently opened. Consider this one more a consolidation than a breakthrough, and no less enjoyable despite its relative lack of innovation.

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 Notes from the Underground by MEDESKI  MARTIN & WOOD album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.96 | 4 ratings

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Notes from the Underground
Medeski Martin & Wood Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by SaltyJon
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Medeski, Martin & Wood are a great band, and this, their debut album, is a great testament of that. Before listening to this album, I really only knew them for their funky organ-driven jazz and their adventurous spirit when it came to their playing. This album keeps the adventurous spirit, but it's all acoustic jazz. Medeski sticks to piano and Wood sticks to double bass, giving it a really nice organic sound.

Right from the beginning you can tell these guys are a talented bunch, all displaying an excellent proficiency on their instruments and a good feel for what to play and when to play it. They have some free jazz sensibilities it seems, and their love for a nice funky feeling is apparent even here on their debut album. Though the album's long (72 minutes, plus my version has a bonus track, "Can't Get What You Want") the album never seems to drag. Plus, every member gets a chance to show off his chops with various solos.

It's definitely a worthy inclusion to any prog collection, any jazz collection...really, any music collection. If you enjoy high quality acoustic jazz trios, then this album is definitely for you. I would point out "best tracks" but I feel like it's all of a uniformly high quality. Four stars from me.

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 Zaebos by MEDESKI  MARTIN & WOOD album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.92 | 6 ratings

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Zaebos
Medeski Martin & Wood Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Last years of the first decade (XXI) were really great for this NY trio. Their "Radiolarians" trilogy became most matured their work, and they recorded this great album in collaboration with John Zorn.

Being in their best form, trio plays more straight jazz and world fusion. The concept is based on Zorn's Masada ( Second Book of Angels), and music there is darker, deeper and more serious than in many MMW other works.

If they can't compare in techniques with some excellent jazz instrumentalists, collaborated with Zorn on his Masadas, they have their own reading of klezmer (and sometimes even blues) based fusion. Vintage analog keyboards, distorted bass and very their own atmosphere.

Few compositions there are just excellent and could be named as MMW best music ever recorded. Some songs are not so concentrated and are just pleasant and moody klezmer based nu jazz tunes. But in both cases every listener will enjoy this music.

Good relaxed place to start your travel to Zorn's Masada world as well as one of the best MMW recorded albums.

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Thanks to Easy Money & Tsevir Leirbag for the artist addition.

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