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Medeski, Martin and Wood

Throughout the group’s career, Medeski, Martin & Wood have mixed together groove-oriented jazz with adventurous explorations, building up a large audience without compromising their musical vision. Organist/keyboardist John Medeski, bassist Chris Wood and drummer Billy Martin first met in the 1980s, playing in different combinations with John Zorn, John Lurie and Bob Moses. The band debuted in 1991 at the Village Gate in New York and made their first recording (Notes From the Underground) the following year. They sought to utilize both hip-hop rhythms and avant-garde jazz in their playing while maintaining a groove and completely avoiding predictability. During the next few years, the trio toured extensively throughout the United States, bringing their unique music to small towns and gaining followers all over the country while traveling a countless number of miles in Billy Martin’s van, which was succeeded by an R/V they acquired in 1993.

Friday Afternoon in the Universe was their breakthrough recording and by 1995, they were also appearing in Europe and Japan. The group preceded and eventually became a major attraction in the jam-band scene. By the late 1990s, Medeski, Martin & Wood was often welcoming musical guests to their performances, most often DJ Logic. After releasing CDs on Gramavision and Blue Note, they formed the Indirecto label. In 2006 they collaborated with John Scofield, recording Out Louder, a follow-up to that quartet’s breakthrough A Go Go recording of 1998. In addition to their regular performances at music festivals and clubs, each of the musicians has also contributed to the work of other players on a variety of projects, with Chris Wood joining his sibling Oliver in the folk/blues duo the Wood Brothers, Billy Martin writing a percussion instruction book and recording duets with the pianist Dave Burrell, and John Medeski being involved in scoring films.