Stumbling into a performance by John Medeski isn’t all that difficult in New York City — I’ve recently seen him with The Word, Warren Haynes, and John Scofield, (and he’s all over the I’m Not There soundtrack) — but his original groove jazz combo has proven much more elusive lately.
So on Saturday, Dan, Jocelyn, and I took the quick roadtrip up to the Fairfield Arts Center in Bridgeport, CT for a healthy dose of MMW. I expected Bubblehouse and other well-worn MMW tunes, but this year, the trio is up to new tricks. They got together to write new songs before the tour, they’re expanding them during the shows, and they’ll then return to the studio to record an album. They plan on repeating this process in the summer and fall for three new Medeski Martin and Wood albums this year.
The new material was mesmerizing. Fresh, unheard-of grooves, mercurially shifting between jazzy, spacey, freaky, and funky, sometimes ripping in that balls-to-the-wall MMW style, sometimes cute, like when Medeski played the B3 with his melodica. When one of the befuddled ushers tried to make me move in the middle of an extended improvisation, I was so absorbed I could barely defend my seat. I’m looking forward to the album evolving out of this and just might have to get their kids’ CD Let’s Go Everywhere for my niece.
Here’s a video of “Think”: