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Portland Jazz Festival: A Celebration of ECM

Medeski, Martin and Wood

The line between jazz and rock has always been a fine one. Both are highly performance-based and both value virtuosity and showmanship, yet they tend to remain quite distinct. Medeski, Scofield, Martin and Wood’s tour-opening performance at Washington, D.C.’s Nightclub 9:30, however, made me question how comfortable I was with both musical forms.

To say that the styles are distinct is not to say that jazz and rock are incompatible; the truth is that the two blended well can result in some of the most exciting and engaging music found in either genre. Jazz-rock or “fusion” as it is dubiously known, has evoked some of the most daring and creative musicians to push musical boundaries untouched by either genre alone.

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