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Medeski, Martin & Wood: Note Bleu

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For their forthcoming project Medeski, Martin & Wood plan to reunite with guitarist John Scofield. The recording, a sequel to Scofield’s excellent A Go Go, won’t be on Blue Note, MMW’s label since the mid-’90s; it should be on the trio’s new, independent label. Not surprisingly, Blue Note marks the occasion with Note Bleu, a best-of compilation that collects tracks from MMW’s six Blue Note releases.

Note Bleu draws predominantly from the electrified MMW releases Combustication, Uninvisible, The Dropper and End of the World Party, plus one tune off Combustication Remix EP and one from the live, acoustic Tonic. It’s a perfectly decent cross-section of the band’s Blue Note work, but it’s no substitute for the highly creative individual recordings-especially the four best represented here. Sure, you can have the “Hey-Hee-Hi-Ho” remix on the same disc as the horn-powered title track from Uninvisible, but know that you’d be exchanging the sonic coherence and consistent quality of the original recordings for a dubious pleasure. Even new listeners would be better served by starting with one of these four. Go buy Combustication.

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