Category Archives: FAITU

FAITU#58

FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE
(FAITU#58)
2010-11-19

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  • MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD
    w/ Mike Rivard

    Port City Music Hall, Portland, ME
    Friday, November 19, 2010


    One Set: Baby Goats, Dollar Pants > Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down > Improv, Chantes Des Femmes, Bass Solo > Padrecito, Big Time > Night Marchers, Wonton, Zeed al Maal#*, Pappy Check#, Undone

    Encore: Mojet+

    # with Mike Rivard on sintir
    * Club d’Elf song
    + Mago song

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John Medeski 2010-11-18 @The Westcott Theatre, Syracuse, NY

Source info:
2010-11-19.akg460ck1.110849.t-flac16

– ONE SET (tracks 1-16) –


– SHACK THOUGHTS –
FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE (FAITU#58)

“Sportin’ the new MMW logo hat, John Medeski!”

This is a great 2hr set that captures MMW nicely from this point in late 2010 at a super fun and intimate venue in the groovy city of Portland in the state of Maine, next to my province … I hit the band’s first performance at this place the previous year and was sorely disappointed to miss this 2010 gig, but thankfully the sounds were wonderfully captured — THANKS, Todd!

Chris Wood 2010-11-18 @The Westcott Theatre, Syracuse, NY

Chris Wood 2010-11-18 @The Westcott Theatre, Syracuse, NY

We get a slow building Intro to start things off that allows Baby Goats to bubble into our ears — love this groove! AKA “New ’07”, because MMW introduced the tune in the spring of 2007, the song actually seems to originate from some side-project gigs John played in the summer of 2006 under the moniker Medeski & The Itch (Eric Krasno & Adam Deitch!), so check those gigs out if you can find ’em … the tune is also found on the 2008 released Will Bernard album, Blue Plate Special, that Medeski played on (it actually opens the album, and a cover of Gonzo is also found on there). MMW played around with Baby Goats in both electric and acoustic settings, with the tune focusing on its groove or expanding out more, depending on their inclination on a given night.

The Radiolarians 2 tune, Dollar Pants, is up next which has always sounded odd to me — in a good way! The melody from John coupled with the accompanying rhythm from Martin & Wood just sounds like it almost doesn’t work for me, but yet it does … I wanna bop my head, but it’s an odd bop … just a wacky groove to this one that always sounds sharp against the songs surrounding it … this boils down to Medeski on piano which leads into the piano intro for Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down, an old spiritual/traditional tune you can find covered by Bob Dylan, Robert Plant, and many others. For MMW, SYKMCD begins with John exploring the fringes of the melody before he starts up the saloon-sounding romp with Billy and Chris jumping in, illyB keeping the shuffle simple with some cymbal accents, and Wood driving the whole sound with that SLIDE BASS! DAMN! (They played this tune the year before in Portland as well, and I was standing dead centre in front of Chris while he wailed that slide bass part — MAN!)

Martin 2010-02-24 @Crystal Bay Club Crown Room, Crystal Bay, NV

For many/most 2008 performance SYKMCD (from Radiolarians 3) was followed by the MMW original, Satan Pt.II (aka “Satan’s Little Helper”), which was a real nice dark groove released as a bonus track in the Radiolarians boxed set; here we have the song followed by a wonderful groove, not so dark, and it ain’t the MMW Satanic original. Nonetheless, this Improv is hot and tightly constructed.

Next up is Chantes Des Femmes, another R3 tune, the song that most often preceded and led into SYKMCD over 2008-09, but is now following Satan … this is a beautiful groove with John making that piano sing for the women … this version is nicely stretched through a patient execution …

Bass Solo time, lots of terrible chatter in the room at this point — LISTEN UP, FOLKS! Wood is playing his SOUL up there! Why do these talkers come … it just always seemed like a lot of money to come and talk … LISTEN! But I digress … it’s a pretty melodic solo from Chris, working sweetly into the tune it was working towards, Padrecito (Radiolarians 2 creation). I’ve no idea if this is related, but “Padrecito” is Spanish for “old man”, and this tune does have a slightly older-jazz feel to it, standard piano trio-like-feel, albeit tinged with MMW’s approach and creativity. This version is tightly compact — some versions expanded a fair bit more, but this performance is perfect for the room … gotta get back to some funky vibes for this restless crowd!

MMW 2010-02-21 @The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA

And the crowd howls as John moves over to that murky keyboard and brings in the clavinet, and we are grooving BIG TIME! A good tune to get folks pumping, this heavy groove found on The Dropper album always sounds good to my ears. And this begins a high energy run of tunes with Big Time’s wacky ending slamming into the Night Marchers’ AWESOME bass and groove and the band tears up this classic Shack-man track, followed by another Radiolarians 3 song, Wonton, which is a super nice mood enhancer …

The following 25min are arguably the highlight of the show. Billy invites Mike Rivard on stage — if you don’t know Rivard, get with it! HA! He is the leader and heart of the band Club d’Elf, and if you haven’t heard them, well, I dunno, you just better check them out RIGHT NOW, or after you listen to this gig. TONS of d’Elf on the Live Music Archive

Mike Rivard (Club d'Elf)

Mike Rivard (Club d’Elf)

The first tune Rivard adds his sintir sounds to is Zeed al Maal, a Club d’Elf song, and this quartet just rips this tune up in such a good way! Rivard and Wood’s interplay is marvelous, Billy holds the groove down throughout, and John goes WILD on some various keys … mixing it up with the melodica and the organ, so good! This tune is incredible and I wish the trio would have kept it in rotation … or that Rivard would come sit in more often!

Rivard remains on stage and the quartet launch into the Unvisible fun of Pappy Check — WOO! This tune always gets me moving and shaking, and Rivard fits in perfectly here as the jam unfolds over the tune and he finds his pockets of sound … damn, that sintir sound is so great with the trio …

Undone closes the show, yet another Radiolarians 3 tune. I find this song incredibly cathartic — it just builds and explodes in such fantastic release. The feel of the song almost reminds me of some 70s or 80s rock anthem or something, but WAY cooler with the sounds the trio emits — it crashes to explosion!

Some intros from illyB (see my opening comment above), and then we get a treat with the Mago tune, Mojet — from the duo album Medeski & Martin released in 2007 shortly after Chris started hanging with his biological brother a lot more … they may have given this treat as a bit of a warm up for the next night’s performance of the song with horns in Boston, but regardless the reason, it’s a great tune for the trio! But check out that Mago album too if you haven’t … wow.

MMW 2010-11-14 @Tarrytown Music Hall, Tarrytown, NY

MMW 2010-11-14 @Tarrytown Music Hall, Tarrytown, NY

Portland, ME is where I first caught MMW live, so it has a soft spot in my ears, but honestly, the band always tears it up when they hit that town … good Maine vibes you can enjoy on this beautiful spring Friday Afternoon In The Universe

enjoy the grooves,
dug


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FAITU#57

FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE
(FAITU#57)
2001-05-05

MMW Listen to playlist
  • MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD
    w/ Dominick Placco, Michael Ray, Roger Lewis & Clarence Johnson III

    State Palace Theater, New Orleans, LA
    Saturday, May 05, 2001


    One Set: Big Time > Intro Improv > The Dropper > Bone Digger > Felic# > Note Bleu > We Are Rolling > Drum Solo > Shacklyn Knights > Bass Solo, Bemsha Swing / Lively Up Yourself*, Wiggly’s Way*, Where’s Sly?*, Third Stone From The Sun* > I Wann Be Like You Improv*, Moti Mo*, Blue Pepper*

    Encore #1: Bubblehouse*

    Encore #2: Swamp Road+

    One Set
    # with Dominick Placco (trumpet)
    * with Michael Ray (trumpet), Mark McGrain (trombone), Roger Lewis (baritone sax), Clarence Johnson III (tenor Sax)
    + w/acoustic outro

    Critters Buggin opened for MMW

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MMW poster 2001-05-05

Source info:
2001-05-05.fob.neumann-ak40.4544.t-flac16

– ONE SET (tracks 1-15) –


– SHACK THOUGHTS –
FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE (FAITU#51)

This gig is a MUST HAVE for anyone dipping into MMW or hardcore fans alike. It has a wild section from the trio to start the set, with (another) guest spot by their bus driver Dom wailing on trumpet for Felic, but then it’s Michael Ray, Mark McGrain, Roger Lewis & Clarence Johnson III that send things out there … when Michael Ray’s involved in the horn section, there always seems to be extra fun … and the jam that comes out of 3rd Stone just sounded like they’re riffing off the I Wanna Be Like You groove without actually playing the song, really … anyway, GREAT GROOVES in here for a spring Friday Afternoon In The Universe!

enjoy the grooves,
dug


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MMW Shack Selections

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FAITU#52+#53+#54+#55+#56

FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE
(FAITU#52 & #53 & #54 & #55 & #56)
2001-04-20
2002-04-20
2004-04-20
2005-04-20
2013-04-20

MMW Listen to playlist
  • 2001-04-20
    MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD

    Warfield Theatre, San Francisco, CA
    Friday, April 20, 2001


    One Set: The Dropper > We Are Rolling > Shack, Bone Digger > Improv > Night Marchers > Is There Anybody Here That Love My Jesus > Africa > Bass Solo > Shacklyn Knights, Note Bleu, Big Time > Improv Intro > Jelly Belly > Drum Solo, Partido Alto

    Encore: Acoustic Intro > Chubb Sub > Hey Joe

    One Set Only
    Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe opened for MMW

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  • 2002-04-20
    MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD

    w/ the Uninvisible Horns of San Francisco

    Warfield Theatre, San Francisco, CA
    Saturday, April 20, 2002


    Set 1: Improv Intro > Ten Dollar High > Take Me Nowhere > Lifeblood* > Bass Solo, Creole Love Call (w/ Snake Anthony bass line)# > Felic# > Drum Solo > Fire > Smoke

    Set 2: Pappy Check, The Saint#, Open Improv# > Uninvisible#, Nocturnal Transmission# > Open Improv# > Where’s Sly?# > Blue Pepper#, Moti Mo#

    Encore: I Wanna Ride You#

    Most of the show with Dan the Automator – turntables
    * w/ extended outro
    # w/ the Uninvisible Horns of San Francisco:
    Steven Bernstein – trumpet, slide trumpet, director
    Ralph Carney – bari sax, flute, homemade thing
    Paul Hanson – bassoon + effects
    Kenny Brooks – tenor sax, oboe

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  • 2004-04-20
    MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD

    Café du Nord, San Francisco, CA
    Tuesday, April 20, 2004


    Set 1: Improv > Improv > Improv > Improv > Improv > Open Improv > Improv > Drum Solo > Drums’n’Bass > Improv > Open Improv > Improv

    Set 2: Improv > Improv > Improv > Improv > Improv > Improv > Drum Solo > Open Improv > Improv > Improv > Bass Solo > Improv > Improv > Improv

    Encore: Whiney Bitches

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  • 2005-04-20
    MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD

    Liberty Hall, Lawrence, KS
    Wednesday, April 20, 2005


    Set 1: Open Improv > Improv > Open Improv > Improv, Bass Solo > Bass’n’Drums > Hegaz, Curtis > Is There Anybody Here That Love My Jesus

    Set 2: End Of The World Party > Reflector (w/ Drum Solo) > New Planet > The Lover > Bass Improv Outro > Sasa > Everyday People > Queen Bee > Whiney Bitches

    Encore: Who The Fuck?

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  • 2013-04-20
    MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD

    Mondavi Center for the Arts, Davis, CA
    Saturday, April 20, 2013


    Set 1: Open Improv > Improv > Improv > Improv > “Mondavi Piano” > Improv > Drum Solo

    Set 2: Shacklyn Knights > Bass Solo, Last Chance to Dance Trance (Perhaps), Just Like I Pictured It, No Ke Ano Ahiahi, Heaven On Earth

    with Joshua Light Show

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2001-04-20

MMW c.2001

MMW c.2001

Source info:
2001-04-20.neumann-u89.117619.t-flac16

– ONE SET (tracks 1-23) –

– SHACK THOUGHTS –
Another opening slot with The Dropper, but this time the band basically jumps right into the tune and WE ARE ROLLING! Cool little Shack out of there and we move into *yet another* kick ass single spring set show! Super fun Acoustic Intro > Chubb Sub too …

enjoy the grooves,
dug


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2002-04-20

MMW c.2002

MMW c.2002

Source info:
2002-04-20.schoeps641.9521.t-flac16

– SET I (tracks 1-7) –
– SET II (tracks 8-15) –

– SHACK THOUGHTS –
Speak of the devil! Take Me Nowhere pops up here … Lifeblood, again cool with an extended outro of sorts … Creole > Felic might be the highlight of the show for me … well, the Moti Mo to close is in competition but not quite … Nocturnal Transmission is a wicked tune! And the move into Where’s Sly? is wacked! HA!

Can’t speak to Dan the Automator additions to the show too much … I’m just not a DJ guy … I simply can’t recall one way or the other at the moment …

enjoy the grooves,
dug


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2004-04-20

Wood & Martin 2004-05-28 @Harmony Park Music Garden, Geneva, MN

Source info:
2004-04-20.fob.dpa4023.23966.t-flac16

– SET I (tracks 1-11) –
– SET II (tracks 12-27) –

– SHACK THOUGHTS –
Standing out as one of the most incredible run of shows MMW has ever played, these April 2004 gigs of 100% improvisation exhibit the band at the height of their SHACK skills, pulling endless melodies and grooves out of thin air, along with the usual visits to more out-there/open space.

Each night encores with a tune intended for release on End Of the World Party (Just In Case) later in 2004 — Whiney Bitches never made it to the US release, but I think was on the Japanese release, and was later found on the Note Bleu-Best of the Blue Note Years 1998-2005 compilation disc.

All that to say: Dig into these gigs of pure musical exploration … you won’t be disappointed.

enjoy the grooves,
dug


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2005-04-20

MMW @The Staircase, Scranton, PA 2005-05-13

MMW @The Staircase, Scranton, PA 2005-05-13

Source info:
2005-04-20.akg463.29083.t-flac16

– SET I (tracks 1-5) –
– SET II (tracks 6-13) –

– SHACK THOUGHTS –
The show opens in fine form with lots of exploration solidifying in a tweaked-out groove — Medeski’s keys are wild! We move through 2 incredible improvisations in the first 30min — you have to listen to these guys constructing these pieces on the fly, it’s unreal, boiling down to Chris letting loose on a Bass Solo before illyB joins back in and the two groove out and play around for a few minutes before landing into Hegaz — this is an incredible tune the guys played throughout April ’05 thanks to Brahim Fribgane bringing over this Club D’Elf tune during his sit-in @Tonic in NYC the previous March. Thought it might be the Zorn tune Ziphim for a while, but it’s a D’Elf tune, I believe written by Brahim. John sticks on piano throughout for this one which is real nice — each version of this tune is worth checking out for what the band does over the course of its brief inclusion in the live repertoire. Curtis is a hard groove resolving to the soothing wackiness of ITAHTLMJ to close the set, a tune benefiting nicely from Medeski’s ’05 key sounds.

2nd set gets going with a solid (as always) EOTWP (love that bowed bass!), with a HUGE Reflector close on its heels containing a Drum Solo which is fairly common for the tune but not a given, so I like to note it, and this jams into the nice combo of New Planet > The Lover, leading to a Bass Improv Outro that takes us to the slink of Sasa. The quietness of Everyday People follows (ya know, I honestly hardly recognize this cover!), and Queen Bee (a common closer) rocks us out to end with the cries of Whiney Bitches — what a pairing to wrap-up the set! Every version of Whiney Bitches is worth hearing as well …

Who The Fuck? is a short but VERY sweet encore — FRICKIN’ LOVE THIS PJ Harvey tune! Never listened to the original because I’m afraid how much it might ruin my love for MMW’s version … it rocks SO HARD!

enjoy the grooves,
dug


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2013-04-20

Wood @Mondavi Center, Jackson Hall, Davis, CA 2013-04-20

Wood @Mondavi Center, Jackson Hall, Davis, CA 2013-04-20

Source info:
2013-04-20.neumann-km140.124444.t-flac16

– SET I (tracks 1-6) –
– SET II (tracks 7-12) –

– SHACK THOUGHTS –
An electric gig drops on 4/20 in the midst of an acoustic run …

– SET I –
Some mildly piercing tweaks of feedback-like noise begin our journey through this 4/20 excursion, I believe the sounds are coming from Chris bowing below his bridge on the stand-up — it makes that kinda uncomfortable sounds. John is filling in some atmospheric sounds while Billy tinkers with some percussive injections. This open space is sifted and mined for groove until just after 5min or so the band allows the groove to emerge — Chris has already been building up the bassline, but @5:20 of track #2 John hits a mild riff and things evolve smoothly from there … this feels nice and welcoming even with its haunted edge. The last couple of minutes of the track sees the band developing what sounds like the beginning of an entirely new piece but it only lasts a couple of minutes … could really just be the outro from the previous improvisation, but I’ve noted it separately and it actually chills down to a very brief skittering from illyB on the kit before we reach silence.

Martin @Mondavi Center, Jackson Hall, Davis, CA 2013-04-20

The next track picks up the energy a bit with an illyBeat kicking hard before John chimes in with a nice and funky Clav riff followed by some nasty slide work from Chris on his electric — and we’re suddenly in a much funkier territory that’s almost feels scary to follow but also so nice. The organ comes in with a complimentary/contrasting riff to the Clavinet and this is a FUNKY TUNE, folks! Too bad we’ll never hear it again … THANK YOU TAPERS!!!

Track #4 I’ve dubbed “Mondavi Piano” — it’s incredible. It’s comprised of a few sections that sound to me like they all work together as a composition — spontaneous? I dunno … but listen and you’ll love it. The intro section moves smoothly into the main piano groove of the song c.3:40 — beautiful work from John here, complimented so perfectly by Chris and Billy. Wicked good. This builds to some chaos, out of which John continues a piano riff as the track rolls over and Billy joins in on percussion …

Medeski @Mondavi Center, Jackson Hall, Davis, CA 2013-04-20

Medeski drops out and illyB keeps playing his mettalic percussives for a spell, and then John slowly joins in with a murky little riff on (what I think is) the Wurlitzer — oh yeah, and Chris starts to compliment John as Billy switches to the kit and things start movin’ and groovin’. This is great and leads us to a Drum Solo closing the set — I recall an old interview where Billy noted the first time they ever did that, close a set with a Drum Solo, and how different it felt and how cool it was … not sure, think around ’03 … anyway, set break!

– SET II –
The 2nd set gets back to tunes, with a great selection, cool to hear, especially since in 2013 we weren’t hearing much else from the band other than the surrounding acoustic gigs that were the thrust of this spring ’13 tour. I think you had to hit some European festivals to catch MMW electric that year — HA! — so, lucky for our friends across the Atlantic. Anyway, great selection of tunes that are all at the top of their game, with a nice loose yet in control and confident feel.

Wood & Martin @Mondavi Center, Jackson Hall, Davis, CA 2013-04-20

Shacklyn Knights is a good slinky way to begin the set, followed by a Bass Solo, while LCTDT(P) is a particular highlight — stellar piano from John. JLIPI takes me back to my first live experience with MMW in ’98, and I’m a sucker for always hearing No Ke Ano Ahiahi for similar reasons — it’s a tune my wife and I both love as well. Heaven on Earth is a tune we could hear more from the band … if/when they play again more …

enjoy the grooves,
dug


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MMW Shack Selections

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FAITU#51

FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE
(FAITU#51)
2018-03-23

MMW Listen to playlist
  • MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD
    w/ Marc Ribot & Ned Rothenberg

    Big Ears Music Festival – Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville, TN
    Friday, March 23, 2018


    One Set: Open Improv > Improv > Open Improv/Bass’n’Drums > Improv > Open Improv > Improv > Open Improv > Improv > Improv > Improv > Improv# > Open Improv#* > Improv#* > Improv#* > Wood’n’wind Bass Improv* > Improv#* > Improv#* > Dracula#*

    One Set Only
    # w/ Marc Ribot – guitar
    * w/ Ned Rothenberg – bass clarinet

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Medeski, Martin and Wood, Big Ears Festival, Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville, March 2018

Medeski, Martin and Wood, Big Ears Festival, Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville, March 2018

Source info:
2018-03-23.shure-mv88.141601.t-flac16 [TSP2018#1]

– ONE SET (tracks 1-4) –


– SHACK THOUGHTS –
FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE (FAITU#51)

This gig is EXACTLY what I wanted to hear. Hot Damn.

Set opens with about 50min of trio bliss … the band explores some open space for the first 5min or so, seeming like they are on the brink of developing more of a groove but the sound resists … then Billy and John pull back and Chris emerges with this stellar acoustic bassline, the other two join in and this works into an incredible melodic improvisation – wow! This Improv moves for almost 10min before the trio breaks the sound down again into some Open Improv and minor Bass’n’Drums interplay — all pretty loose for the next few minutes … and then again, Chris gets us going on our way towards a more cohesive groove and by the time we reach 22min into this set these guys are just ROCKIN’! Then again, the mood simmers down and we’re treated to further open exploration although with a bit of a pulsing beat that Medeski tinkers over with an electric piano sound … Chris is bowing an odd little repetition … illyB is playing around with some of his toolbox toys … John closes this out with some trills then hits a heavy organ chord to begin the next Improv development with Chris jumping right on top of Medeski’s sound, but Wood has moved to the Hofner and is doing some of that awesome pick work we hear on a number of tunes, but he’s flying free here on top of the keys for a while before Medeski adds another sound to the mix — it’s 2min before illyB kicks in a beat on the kit and Chris opens up his playing to be a bit more groovy and interactive, John finds a melody (from where? Where do these sounds come from?!?), and they’ve now spontaneously created yet another incredible piece of music … and we’re only 30min into a set lasting 1hr 47min … oh these sweet sounds!

Medeski, Martin and Wood, Big Ears Festival, Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville, March 2018

Medeski, Martin and Wood, Big Ears Festival, Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville, March 2018

As the groove dissolves the band makes a more aggressive and electric exploration of Open sounds for a few minutes and just before the 36min mark of the set and this first track, illyB lands on some metallic percussive sounds that are the beginning of the next groove with Medeski whirling underneath like a wind tunnel … again, Chris emerges with yet another stellar line somewhat reminiscent of the tune Nocturne, but this is something new and different … Billy fades out as John comes in, then illyB begins a soft shuffle of sorts, searching for a rhythm, start/stop on the kit, and driving us along … then we spin into more open space which comes back to a groove c.36min via illyB on his metal toys tapping out a rhythm that Chris then joins, once again carving out the melodic structure of the improvisation, and then Medeski jumps on board this Norturne-ish sounding jam building — VERY cool shit! The pace picks up as we head towards 43min thanks to some swirls signalled by John, Billy and Chris both latch onto this energy and we’re in a bit higher gear now, still led by Wood’s incredible lead bass inventions (similar to how Chris controls the carnivalesque tune Back & Forth), but not to be outdone Medeski spins some craziness off the mellotron before the pace dramatically shifts once again c.45min, but slowing by half, with the keys and drums laying down a bed (very nice work from Billy at this point) which the bass just oozes into gradually, making itself known, but complimenting the groove perfectly. This latest groove has a couple shifts along the way, all very organic, as we ever so smoothly make our way to …

Medeski, Martin and Wood, Big Ears Festival, Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville, March 2018

Medeski, Martin and Wood, Big Ears Festival, Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville, March 2018

The entrance of Marc Ribot, guitar god extraordinaire! Ribot enters for track #2 of the recording and remains until the end of the set — so we get almost an hour of Ribot w/ MMW which is just the best. The guitar emerges through a caucophony of sound building out of that last Improv and as the track time moves towards 2min the sound settles down a bit, the trio establish a groove and Ribot begins to find his place in this spontaneous composition being developed. I think these 10min or so when the groove begins to the end of the track work into a single piece of music the quartet has created.

Medeski, Martin and Wood, Big Ears Festival, Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville, March 2018

Medeski, Martin and Wood, Big Ears Festival, Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville, March 2018

When Ned Rothenberg enters, everyone opens up to give him space without giving up their input — this gets almost tribal sounding over the Open Improv that welcomes Ned and his bass clarinet to the stage. A groove settles out of the drums-heavy opening with everyone connecting and just a real nice vibe here … 5min later the pace picks up as a new Improv develops — Chris is very much leading the affairs this evening, at least to my ears, being the strongest voice with everyone reacting mostly to his playing (most often it’s Medeski that fills this role, I think, and not that Chris doesn’t ever step up but it just seems even more so over this set). Ribot really steps up at this point too, and this “tune” builds to a wonderful crescendo — Ribot is just wailing around the 15min mark and keeps pushing and pushing over the next couple minutes! Medeski and Rothenberg are each wailing as well with Martin & Wood pushing the underlying rhythm more and more — BOOM! This explodes into more caucophony for a moment before settling into an eerie and wonderful interplay of the basses on stage: Stand-up and Clarinet. Wood and Ned sound like they’re having a lot of fun, with Chris beginning the exchange bowing his bass and Ned soloing over these sounds. Chris gradually moves into some finger plucking via some percussive beating of his wood, and Ned keeps reacting to Chris and Chris to Ned — check it out! As the two settle into a plodding interplay, illyB joins on the kit with a sparse beat, John and Marc add some chordal sounds and the creation continues to rise up in energy as we hit 22min in the track. The Improv gets more and more heavy — Billy is really beating those damn drums in this set and I dig it! He’s joining into that “bass” sound that is permeating the stage … oh yeah, this is a HEAVY THICK wall of sound from the quintet as we approach 25min — and there’s Ribot calling out above the thick bed! The build is peaking and peaking! After the sound hits the blind hill and comes down the quintet slides into yet another Nocturne-ish sounding Improv — this will take us towards the song the sound almost seems to have been moving towards all night. I love it when these Improv heavy sets seem to build into a song at the set’s end — it really ices the sound cake, if you know what I mean.

Medeski, Martin and Wood w/ Marc Ribot & Ned Rothenberg, Big Ears Festival, Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville, March 2018

Medeski, Martin and Wood w/ Marc Ribot & Ned Rothenberg, Big Ears Festival, Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville, March 2018

And so we hit the familiar opening chord of Dracula – a perfect choice. Ribot always adds a delicious flavour to this track, and Rothenberg’s bass clarinet sound fits so well with Dracula’s vibe — just listen, you’ll love it.

Hard to believe this is a festival set — usually this level of MMW-magic is saved for proper MMW gigs where they have their audience contained. I’m sure those ears in attendance at Big Ears soaked up these darkly groovy sounds with much pleasure … and now your ears can enjoy the sounds too, on this beautiful spring Friday Afternoon In The Universe

enjoy the grooves,
dug


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FAITU#50

FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE
(FAITU#50)
2004-06-23

MMW Listen to playlist
  • MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD

    Marquee Theatre, Tempe, AZ
    Wednesday, June 23, 2004


    Set 1: Open Improv > Improv > Mami Gato > Bass Solo > Rise Up > Organ Solo > Lonely Avenue > Improv > Toy Dancing > Improv

    Set 2: Seven Deadlies* > Improv > Improv > Improv > Improv > Bass Solo > EOTWP Improv+ > Hey-Hee-Hi-Ho > Drum Solo > Blue Pepper

    Encore: Bass Solo > Queen Bee

    * starting @7:49 the tune’s outro riffs on Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues Are (Thelonius Monk)
    + not really the song proper, but this improvisation is built around End Of The World Party

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MMW 2004-07-31 @Mountain Winery, Saratoga, CA

Source info:
2004-06-23.nak-cm101.24783.t-flac16

– SET I (tracks 1-9) –
– SET II (tracks 10-19) –


– SHACK THOUGHTS –
FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE (FAITU#50)

Pure 2004 groovy goodness.

In a switch-up for MMW, the first set is more song oriented (with plenty of Improv too!), while the 2nd set sees the meat of the evening’s spontaneous composing.

First set begins with some Open space exploration that leads smoothly into a wonderful Improv, everyone jiving together and taking us ever so nicely into Mami Gato, a beautiful song which was fairly new at this time having debuted in fall ’03 and would be released in fall ’04 on the forthcoming END OF THE WORLD PARTY (JUST IN CASE) album, once again the band is tight and then moves towards an emerging Bass Solo that bridges over to Rise Up, which doesn’t last too, too long, but hits with it’s wacky groove before dissolving into an Organ Solo leading into Ray Charles’ Lonely Avenue, and down that Avenue we go before suddenly the band leads into another KILLER (if too short!) Improv which takes us to Toy Dancing (’04 was a GREAT year for this tune), and then closing the set with a final Improv that just drives home how INCREDIBLY FLUID the past hour of music has been. Set break.

Medeski & Wood 2004-05-28 @Harmony Park Music Garden, Geneva, MN

2nd set finds the weirdly sinister feel of Seven Deadlies opening and getting the set going with intense energy — an energy that remains — and in the tune’s final moments we get a slight reference to Thelonious Monk’s fun quirky tune Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues Are, a nice nod to a piano player I think had a tremendous influence on John’s playing. When in doubt, listen to more Monk! The Deadlies doesn’t end but rather moves into the first of several distinct Improv sections, some really inventive spontaneous composing happening here showcasing various moods/rhythms/melodies until we once again land in a Bass Solo which leads to something seemingly familiar, but not quite, and so I’ve labelled it EOTWP Improv since the improvisation is built around the song End Of The World Party but isn’t quite the song proper, but that bumps right along into Hey-Hee-Hi-Ho, followed by a HOT Drum Solo from illyB, and a slamming Blue Pepper — gets a little wacky near the end — to close the night. Common for this time, the band Encores with a Bass Solo > Queen Bee, and I love that tune’s slinky groove and the way Chris’ solos lead into it … VERY soothing …

MMW @The Mangy Moose, Teton Village, WY
2004-02-17

There are a few sound discrepancies, as the taper notes in the textfile, but nothing that should deter listening to this stunning example of MMW’s ’04 sound — this is one of many shows that offer similar adventure with altogether different grooves. I think hitting “play” on the start of the first set would be a VERY satisfying way to spend your Friday Afternoon In The Universe … maybe the 2nd set can occupy your evening …

enjoy the grooves,
dug


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