Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Medeski, Martin and Wood: Combustication

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

For some eight years, organ power trio Medeski, Martin & Wood have made jazz-based music virtually undetected by the jazz police’s radar. It’s not hard to understand-their sound draws freely from ’70s rhythm renegades like Sly Stone, Larry Young, The Meters, ELP and King Tubby-MMW defies orthodox categorization. More of a improvisational jam band a la Grateful Dead and P-Funk, MMW is about making you throw shapes and jump around wif’ no apology. Their own underground movement, MMW’s recording session juice (John Scofield’s A Go Go) have made them the band-to-watch. By the evidence of MMW’s Blue Note debut, Combustication, even the jazz police are gonna have to give ’em props. Combustication flat-out swings, wildstylin’ from the hippy-dippy “Night in Tunisia” vamp underpinning Steve Cannon’s spacey tone-poem “Whatever Happened to Gus” to the Art Taylor-mambo/McCoy Tyner-like clave abstractions of “Latin Shuffle” to the slowly swaying Sunday mawnin’ gospelization of “Everyday People”. These boys got a future.