Medeski, Martin & Wood began 2016 (their 25th year playing together!) with a handful of shows in Jamaica opening for moe. and Little Feat. Fortunately for us, Little Feat archivist Chris Cafiero was on hand filming the first three nights (of the four), and he even snagged soundboard audio patches each night. Another taper, Steve Wilner also filmed with cameras at both stage right and stage left, as well as front of house. These tapers graciously shared the raw files with me and now we can all enjoy all three nights in multi-camera glory. If you’re an MMW fan, get ready for 3 hours of couch tour! Did I mention that Chris is playing only his Fender Jazz bass for the whole run? Or that they bust out tons of old favorites and get into a large amount of tasty groove-based improvisation? I shouldn’t have to say anything else. But I will say cheers to #MMW25! We’re off to a great start and let’s hope they book a lot more gigs, including something in New Orleans for Jazz Fest!
Medeski Martin & Wood 1/11/16 Runaway Bay, Jamaica @ Jewel Paradise Cove Resort – Tropical Throe.down 2016:
Sorrow [David Bowie / The McCoys cover] > Lonely Avenue [Ray Charles cover] > Think > Improv > Is There Anybody Here That Love My Jesus, Gonzo [James Booker cover]
Medeski Martin & Wood 1/13/16 Runaway Bay, Jamaica @ Jewel Paradise Cove Resort – Tropical Throe.down 2016:
Chinoiserie [Duke Ellington cover], Just Like I Pictured It, Night Marchers > Improv > Wiggly’s Way, Brigas Nunca Mais [Antonio Carlos Jobim / Elis Regina cover], Heaven On Earth [Larry Young cover]
Worship My Organ, born as a NOLA Jazzfest engagement, set up shop in the Black and White Lounge, ready to do business. The collaboration of Robert Walter, Skerik, Adam Deitch and Marco Benevento is a maniacal one. For one hour and fifty-seven minutes, the fearsome foursome did not relent, and the music never stopped. The sounds arrived in a series of waves cloaked in frightening darkness; kicking down heady vamps and joints from the most demonic places, Walter, Benevento, Adam Deitch and Skerik unleashed a lesson in sonic bondage and tourniquet terror. Skerik’s inimitable notes serenaded with sadistic intentions.
Drummer Deitch brought out the best in his collaborators, and he channeled a particular personality of his foil that suits the moment’s need. On this night, Deitch was baiting and surrendering to the flow, playing loose and lyrical. Adam, utilizing a garbage can and its lid to augment his floor tom, began to unveil the classic hip hop knock with his lead right foot.
Commandeering the ship, Deitch set the table for Skerik to get diabolical, and unleash his patented spastic shrieks, the torrid response to the Walter/Benevento duality. Each keyboard player found a lane to drive, be it Hammond, Rhodes, or Wurlitzer, and Skerik needed not a reason to get weird. The drummer remained the anchor and the captain of this beautifully nightmarish séance of complete improvisation. Worship My Organ was simultaneously progressive and danceable. This was trip hop and free-Jazz, on steroids. The key tune was the performance itself.