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FAITU#41

FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE
(FAITU#41)
1994-03-11

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  • MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD

    Flamingo’s, Knoxville, TN
    Friday, March 11, 1994


    One Set: Knoxville Beat*+ > Open Improv, It’s A Jungle In Here, Screeching Flamingos*+, Shack, Worms > Open Improv > Friday Afternoon In The Universe > Bass Solo > Chubb Sub, Clav Intro > Pakalolo > Improv > Chinoiserie, Moti Mo

    * first known performance
    + Not official song title

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MMW c.1992/93

Source info:
1994-03-11.akg460b.87048.t-flac [TSP1994#3]

– ONE SET (tracks 1-12) –


– SHACK THOUGHTS –
FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE (FAITU#41)

We are LUCKY to have this show! First (known) gig of 1994 gets the year going in an exploratory nature showcasing a young band searching for their sound while already having the reigns to control what they’re already able to accomplish. These early years of MMW are full of fire, and it’s fantastic to hear, but it’s only the beginning of so much more music … however, it’s fun to revel in these early grooves … onto the show!

– ONE SET –
A new tune begins the first set of the year, “Knoxville Beat”, and this is the first of 2 known performances, the 2nd being the following night. The temp title comes from this debut happening in Knoxville, and it is a cool rushed BEAT! Chris has a really cool busy line at spots coupled with this lengthy pulse to get the tune going, while Medeski lays it out fast as well and Billy drives it all. Billy keeps the drive up, but the keys and bass both drop to a more sparse groove, and so it goes … VERY cool to hear this. We had 3/12/1994 for a while and had presumed this tune on that show to be an improvisation since we had nothing to compare it with, but once we got a copy of this 3/11 gig I realized this is indeed a tune — and now it sorta sounds like one, eh? This breaks down into an Open Improv that kind of extends the tune’s outro until …

MMW early ’90s

It’s A Jungle In Here, the song from album of same name, pops up, a tune that morphs over the next year to become the song Sequel, which is released on the album FAITU. Again, comparing to the 3/12/1994 gig, you can hear John refer to this tune as “It’s A Jungle In Here” so as far as the band was concerned, that was what they were still playing at this point…and while the tune is certainly not as clean as Sequel became, it sounds like the same tune but a little looser … at least to my ears … I think IAJIH might be missing some of the more structured breakdown moments that were incorporated into Sequel…maybe? I dunno …

Up next, “Screeching Flamingos”, dubbed such due to the screeching nature of Chris’ bow action and the fact that the tune’s first known performance is in this venue, Flamingo’s, the tune is a HEAVY TRIBAL VIBE! Wow! An incredible pulse to this groove, but we only have a couple of recorded versions, unfortunately: this and the next night, March 12/1994, where it opens the 2nd set. It almost sounds like a distant cousin to Worms (which we’ll hear from shortly), but is most certainly its own beast. Cool to hear, and again was thought to be an improvisation when all we had was 3/12/1994, but we now know it to be composed.

Shack, the tune, is up next and stretches into a VERY nice groove. Never disappointed with this tune, interesting the band abandons it over the next few years, but any time they visit the tune it’s worth the listen to this groove!

John introduces the band (NOT Billy), and lets us know we’ll be enjoying some Worms next, off their latest album (It’s A Jungle In Here) — great album! You should get it if you don’t have it! And so Worms offers us some more “screeching” bow work from Chris, albeit in a slightly more friendly groove (interesting to term Worms a “friendly” groove, but compared to “Screeching Flamingos”, it is!). Worms opens into a Drum Solo, which is normal for the tune — it’s the length and explosiveness of the solo that seems to vary from version to version, although some forego a solo entirely in favour of more wacky playfulness from the players. Anyhoo, this solo erupts quite largely and circles back to the Worms riff to take us out into some Open Improv before landing in this weekly series’ namesake, Friday Afternoon In The Universe — I just love the looseness of this wickedly groovy tune. The way it congeals from the ether, grooves, and then separates, FAITU is top knotch for me in MMW’s composed arsenal — it’s like a micro-sample of MMW’s macro-grooves, a snapshot of MMW captured in a single tune. As the separation ensues a Bass Solo rises allowing Chris to beat and groove his way into Chubb Sub, and it gets grooving in a real cool way.

A short pause, and then Medeski kicks in on the clavinet for a few minutes by himself, at the end of track#9, rolling over to the next track where we get to enjoy the Pakalolo — an excellent choice, not as expansive as some versions get around ’94-’95, before the tune fades out of the repertoire (thanks to those who requested in during the 2011 request gigs!), but still this is always worth hearing. I guess it might be cut short as a result of the trio migrating into some Improv that slides oh so nicely into Chinoiserie — you gotta hear this sequence of tracks!

mmw @(le) poisson rouge, NYC, NY 2017-01-18

Another brief pause and John introduces the band, as was his role at this time, and then announces they’ll be closing with a King Sunny Ade tune, Moti Mo, and this is always a sweet vibe with which to close a gig … some might prefer something more upbeat, but the beauty and intensity of Moti Mo would win for me every time …

Cool to hear a couple of new tunes in this show, tunes that are a little more abstract than some of the groovier numbers but unfortunately never stuck around in the live repertoire very long, and yet THANKS TO THE TAPERS we have them captured to hear, lo these 23 years later, on this relaxing spring Friday Afternoon In The Universe

enjoy the grooves,
dug


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FAITU#40

FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE
(FAITU#40)
2001-08-25

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  • MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD
    w/ Marc Ribot & Marshall Allen

    Saalfelden Jazz Fest, Saalfelden, Austria
    Saturday, August 25, 2001


    One Set: Open Improv#* > The Dropper#*, Partido Alto#, Bass Solo > Shacklyn Knights > Drum Solo, Big Time > Felic#* > We Are Rolling#* > Note Bleu#* > Open Intro#* > Angel Race (I’ll Wait For You)#*

    Encore: Bubblehouse#*

    One Set Only
    # w/ Marc Ribot – guitar
    * w/ Marshall Allen – horns

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Marshall Allen c.2001

Source info:
2001-08-25.sbd.12422.t-flac16

– ONE SET (tracks 1-10) –


FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE (FAITU#40)
– SHACK THOUGHTS –

It’s like the band decided to peripherally perform the album, THE DROPPER, in this live setting since Marc Ribot and Marshall Allen were both there. This set is EXACTLY why I listen to MMW. Not the only reason, but one of many that are all EXACTLY why I listen to MMW … while spontaneous composition/improvisation isn’t heard much in this gig, what these musicians do with the songs played is absolutely stunning … let’s dig in!

MMW w/ Marc Ribot @Umbria Jazz Festival,
Teatro Mancinelli, Orvieto, Italy 2001-12-31

– ONE SET –

The set begins with an Open Improv, exploring the space — I think just the trio until about 2min in and then you can hear Ribot’s guitar howl out, and we’re getting some squawks and squeals from Marshall Allen as well … it’s all very abstract, but also sort of a loose introduction to The Dropper (the song) — we get John’s key sound signifying the tune @3:22 on the first track, but then it all sort of falls apart a bit — it seems — simply as a way to restart into The Dropper and get it rolling. So when the track rolls over, this time John’s keys hold the line, Billy kicks in the beat and we are grooving along by the time Chris brings in the base to punctuate things, and essentially hold the melody and foundation of the tune for us. Oh yeah, and then Marc starts letting out some rhythmic spatters and joins the fray nicely. @2:45 Allen asserts himself in the mix — it’s hard to tell if some of the sounds preceding this were coming from him or the keys, but at this point he’s getting horny and we can dig it — listen to Ribot strumming off those spaces in the back of the sound! Things just get MORE CRAZY from here, so just after 7min when John is bringing back the head of the tune (if you can call it that), he’s really wrestling for space in the cacophony of Ribot and Allen — WHOAH! Tune boils down to nothing …

And the Partido Alto groove emerges, feeling so good and about to get super rockin’ as a result of one of the guests — but I ain’t complaining! Ribot comes in with a nice sweet rhythmic pattern again, interjecting some solo lines … the beat picks up as illyB moves to the kit from the percussion, and we are cooking now — and Ribot basically takes over driving this one, I think. He ROCKS this tune HARD … until it simmers down through a drum interlude of sorts, sweetened by John’s piano tinkering in the final moments of the track …

Marc Ribot c.2001

Chris gets us going with a Bass Solo next — fast fingers here! Beats his wood for a while here with high energy until he hits those sweet descending notes leading into Shacklyn Knights, and the Knights step right into the groove and we are moving with the trio only at this point — love the groove/feel of this tune! A Drum Solo comes out of Shacklyn, leading us to Big Time, again with just the trio — heavy vibe on this tune, always fun. In the final noise moments of the tune, just as it’s becoming Felic, Allen and Ribot can be heard again in the mix helping along with the open wacky sounds.

Felic is SOOOOOOOOO f#$kin awesome! And with Ribot and Allen throwing down in the mix, this is some HEAVY shit! Lovin’ it! Chris keeps pulsing that bass line, keeping it together. This tune erupts even more over time, pushing and pushing until we are

ROLLING! We Are Rolling kicks in, and just when it seemed like Felic was the “heavy” tune, our heads are pushed that much further to the brink — the 5 voices on stage are all clamouring for space in the sound and it is INTENSE! Until we hit that space break with a reggae tinge … but it’s all about to explode again! And AGAIN!

Note Bleu is the soothing sound to follow the previous chaos, but keeps an edge due to Marshall’s sound — such bite to his playing!

MMW @The O’Shaughnessy, St. Paul, MN 2001-10-18

A short Open Intro and we are vibing to Sun Ra’s Angel Race (I’ll Wait For You), a tune MMW had been playing for a couple years at this point. Having become part of a medly with Nostalgia In Times Square in the spring 2000 acoustic tour and throughout the remainder of that year, here we get a full treatment of the tune with one of Sun Ra’s band members and Marc Ribot — yeah, this is pretty damn sweet! (I’d heard the trio play Angel Race in ’99, just after it entered the live repertoire, and it was wild with just the three of them — these 5 on stage are wild!) There is what seems like digi-noise c.4min and at times after that, but I think it’s what Allen is doing on his horn! How he’s playing it is eliciting that sound, and then you hear him come in more melodically, but those staccato breaths are breaking the peak!</p

Bubblehouse — does Chris tease the melody from Zappa’s Peaches En Regalia c.6:48?!?! NO! It’s Jelly Belly – RIGHT? Or is it? You decide! Bubblehouse is always grooving and welcome by the crowd, but Ribot and Allen raise the stakes a bit more — you’ll like it, trust me.

You can tell MMW love playing with Ribot, it just shows, and then the addition of Allen finds everyone playing at their tops! Not that the trio ever sounds like they’re slacking on other nights, but this gig just has a VERY special vibe … perfect for a wacky Friday Afternoon In The Universe

enjoy the grooves,
dug


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Celebrate 4/20 w/ MMW Grooves!

– KNOWN/CIRCULATING RECORDINGS FROM 4/20 –
Trouble playing/downloading tunes?

– THE SHACK PROJECT CELEBRATES MMW @26 YEARS! –
Happy 420 …

enjoy the grooves,
dug

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~ 4/20 Shows ~
~ FLAC & MP3 filesets ~
~ Download and/or Streaming ~
MMW @The Staircase, Scranton, PA 2005-05-13

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

2001-04-20.neumann-u89.117619.t-flac16
[TSP2001#15]
Warfield Theatre, San Francisco, CA
Friday, April 20, 2001

One Set Only
Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe opened for MMW
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2002-04-20.mg-m300.9562.t-flac16
[TSP2002#9]
Warfield Theatre, San Francisco, CA
Saturday, April 20, 2002

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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2002-04-20.schoeps641.9521.t-flac16
[TSP2002#10]
Warfield Theatre, San Francisco, CA
Saturday, April 20, 2002

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

2004-04-20.fob.dpa4023.23966.t-flac16
[TSP2004#15]
Café du Nord, San Francisco, CA
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
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2005-04-20.akg463.29083.t-flac16
[TSP2005#30]
Liberty Hall, Lawrence, KS
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
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2013-04-20.neumann-km140.124444.t-flac16
[TSP2013#7]
Mondavi Center for the Arts, Davis, CA
Saturday, April 20, 2013

with Joshua Light Show
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FAITU#39

FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE
(FAITU#39)
2013-04-19

MMW Listen to playlist
  • MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD
    ~ Acoustic Show ~

    Napa Opera House, Napa, CA
    Friday, April 19, 2013


    Set 1: Open Improv > Hip Chops > Open Improv > Improv > Improv, Old Wyne

    Set 2: “Melodiccordian Shuffle”, Ballade In C Minor – ‘Vergessene Seelen’ > Drum Solo, “Wild Instrument Jam”* > Legalize It, Suspicious Minds

    ~ Acoustic Show ~
    * w/ John on fujara

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MMW @Kirkland Performance Center, Kirkland, WA 2013-04-17

Source info:
2013-04-19.neumann-km140.124443.t-flac16

– SET I (tracks 1-6) –
– SET II (tracks 7-13) –


– SHACK THOUGHTS –
FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE (FAITU#39)

The ACOUSTIC goodness of MMW … oh yeah. Perhaps more accurately referred to as “Chamber Music” — that’s what Billy called the music at the shows I hit at this time … has a nice ring to it … reverent …

MMW 2013 Acoustic Tour

– SET I –

Show begins carving through the open space, everyone filling the sound, and then c.3min Medeski plays this lilting line on the piano (familiar?) and the vibe changes to something soothing, which slides right into Hip Chops on the next track, a killer romp, courtesy of Roland Kirk, that is always fun to hear the guys play. The tune takes a turn near the end back into some Open Improvisation, which almost feels like it’s picking up where the pre-Hip Chops open exploration left off — cool! This set’s open playing so far has been rather comforting, but around 3min into track #3 the sounds take a turn towards the eerie and anxiety-inducing — tension! So it gets more tense for a bit before breaking apart into some random note playing (or so it sounds), which all pulls together into a groove of sorts when we roll into track #4.

MMW @Roseland Theater, Portland, OR 2013-04-18

The Improv takes a little shift @3:06 that sounds like the beginning of what is more developed by @6:03 of track #4 — I’m not sure if this is just really beautiful improvisation, or if we’ve hit a tune … kind of reminds me of something from Medeski’s solo album that came out around this time, A DIFFERENT TIME … but I’ve never been able to place it. A lovely listen …

A big swig of Olde Wyne wraps up the set leaving you feeling all warm inside …

– SET II –

A quick bassline from Chris and a sprinkling of melodica from John, while illyB interjects some snare accents, gets us going into what I’ve (stupidly?) temp-named “Melodiccordion Shuffle”. The tune debuted on the previous fall’s East coast acoustic tour and had John on the Claviola upon the debut of the tune’s melody on Oct 3/2012 in Fall River, MA — and it’s been unclear to me if itwas a song at that point, or just an improvised melody that night because it wasn’t until the next night that we hear a more “full” version of a song, and it continued to morph over that fall tour, the Blue Note run, and in these spring ’13 gigs. Anyway, the Claviola was new to me when I witnessed that first melody performance in Oct ’12, and I dubbed the instrument a “Melodiccordion” — it’s like a hybrid of the melodica and an accordion, hence the odd temp-name for this track since I often try to be descriptive with temp-names for new tunes. Not too long after I discovered the name of the instrument as the Claviola. Pretty sure this performance is on the melodica though.

Wood @Roseland Theater, Portland, OR 2013-04-18

The next piece is hauntingly beautiful in all the right ways: Ballade In C Minor, ‘Vergessene Seelen’. This also has a VERY interesting history in MMW’s live repertoire. First (known) appearance of what I’d term the ‘Vergessene Seelen’ melody dates way back to May 29/1994 where the band jams off this in an electric setting — VERY cool discovery I made earlier while preparing FAITU#16. The ‘Vergessene’ melody surfaces yet again 6 years later, now in an acoustic setting, when the band began their run of acoustic gigs in early 2000; Apr 14/2000 began with yet another embryonic version of the “tune” — again, more like it’s a melody in John’s head that he toys with from time to time … I wonder how many other times it’s been used? I haven’t found others yet, but I’m listening! Finally on the 2007 acoustic spring tour the band debuts the tune they developed around that lingering melody, and Ballade In C Minor, ‘Vergessene Seelen’ is played each night, then disappears, eventually making its way onto the release of Free Magic in 2012. leading the band to playing it again — and REALLY working it! — over the fall 2012 tour, and again on this spring 2013 tour. This night’s version, like any of them, is well worth hearing. It’s a weird tune, but I REALLY dig it. This 4/19/2013 performance moves through the “Ballad” section smoothly and the ‘Vergeessene Seelen’ section seems especially hopping — the fall versions seemed to all move towards breaking down earlier or more slowly, but this one just quits the energy right to a short Drum Solo to finish out.

MMW @Roseland Theater, Portland, OR 2013-04-18

“Wild Instrument Jam” was great when I caught versions on the fall tour, and this one doesn’t disappoint either — well, except for the one idiot who keeps calling for the band to “fill it in”. Sometimes it’s best to just be quiet and listen, you might be rewarded in your soul for such attention. Maybe that’s just me? So, this is another “wild” and wacky improvisation with John on the Fujara (a Slovakian shepherd horn) — John gravitated to this choice of instrument over the fall acoustic shows, but the first few times this moment happened in the fall gigs it seemed he might introduce a new/unique instrument each time or at least shuffle between the newly played Claviola, Bamboo Sax, or Fujara. This jam works weirdly into Bob Marley’s Legalize It — a tune they’ve covered electrically as a trio since 2003, but then became part of their MSMW repertoire and was recorded on the OUT LOUDER album with Scofield.

Suspicious Minds closes the set and the show — as unlikely a cover as any MMW have tackled. I LOVE It. Got to hear it a couple of time on the fall ’12 East Coast leg of the tour.

Medeski & Martin @Roseland Theater, Portland, OR 2013-04-18

So no encore, which is how the band rolls sometimes … in this case, no worries, as each set sits as a nice whole in and of itself … I think these acoustic chamber sets will treat you well on this (Good) Friday Afternoon In The Universe

enjoy the grooves,
dug


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FAITU#38

FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE
(FAITU#38)
2005-03-07

MMW Listen to playlist
  • MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD
    w/ DJ Logic & Brahim Fribgane

    Tonic, New York, NY
    Monday, March 07, 2005


    Set 1: Improv > Open Improv > Improv > Improv > Open Improv > Improv > Improv > Bass’n’Drums > Improv > Improv > Improv > Open Improv > Hegaz*, Curtis

    Set 2: Improv > Improv > Open Improv > Improv > Open Improv > Hegaz, Bass Solo/Open Improv > Improv, Queen Bee

    Encore: Swamp Road

    whole show w/ DJ Logic and Brahim Fribgane
    * 1st known performance; Club d’Elf song (written by Brahim?)

    This show was played as Early/Late sets, as opposed to a 2 set single show.

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MMW @Montreux Jazz Festival, Montreux, Switzerland 2005-07-08

Source info:
2005-03-07.schoeps-cmc64.29932.t-flac16

– SET I (tracks 1-10) –
– SET II (tracks 11-20) –


– SHACK THOUGHTS –
FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE (FAITU#38)

This show is SUPER cool! MMW@Tonic=GOOD VIBES!

Throw in Logic and Brahim, and the stakes raise a little higher with the quintet delivering incredible sets of exploration. This really is an AMAZING show. There’s groove in here, but there’s also a considerable amount of out-playing even in the tracks I’ve left noted as Improv, not Open Improv — it’s a spacey show at times. But, the band certainly grounds you in groove at other times, with each set landing in an End Of The World Party (Just In Case) tune.

Medeski @Montreux Jazz Festival, Montreux, Switzerland 2005-07-08

– EARLY SHOW –

The set has a pretty dark overtone throughout, at least to my ears …

A smattering of sounds starts us off on the fileset’s track #2: John banging the piano keys and Chris plunking, as well as Brahim, I think, while illyB colours with some percussive shakes and tinkles (maybe that’s all bass though and Brahim is on percussion?), and Billy eventually moving to the kit initiating some more focused drive towards something more with John on organ now … but the group is staying pretty abstract until just after 3min as that boils down to a little light groove on this opening track with John back on piano (is that Logic colouring the background a bit?). Billy has a nice open beat working, and yeah, there’s Logic in there now for sure — I think that is just Chris on the bass, but the sound is weird to my ears … this all breaks down again into an Open Improv exploring the space in the room for a couple of minutes. Whereas the opening exploration seemed to lead to that melodic section of the track, this latter exploration at the track’s end seems like the musicians are searching …

The search is over when we roll to track #3 which develops very nicely from a sparse groove, where the sums of the parts strangely add up to the groove and by half way we’re in a full on composition with all those parts having jived and shaken to morph into a really solid musical conversation speaking right to me …

The Improv on track #4 breaks back down to a heavy percussive feel, John’s on piano hitting it with some force — tinkering a cool 3rd Stone tease c.1:40min into this groove. The interplay between illyB and Brahim with the beats is hoppin’! By the time we get to around 3:45min Billy moves to the kit and John starts playing a little more fluidly, less harshness, Logic is sratching — which is oddly fitting in well — and Chris has been holding it altogether, as he often does. Oh, this is a real nice tune/improvisation … John is taking us for quite a ride on the piano … eventually this simmers low with a sliding muddy line from Chris, more Logic scratches with some samples, and the illyB/Brahim shaking us down to quiet …

DJ Logic c.2005

Some further space explorations start track #5, John staying on piano but fairly abstract and somebody is on the talking drum (illyB?) … John’s ivories get a little more fluttery, almost pretty, but then a harshness comes in from other angles a bit, bordering on breaking apart, or perhaps introducing a new groove development … this goes on for a few minutes, more shots of sounds that are perhaps not so welcoming mixed with other more soothing sounds … this all pulls together just after 5min into moving together more after the open playing … it’s a slow build, but very nice … cool keys from Mr. Medeski … Billy moves back to the kit c.11min and Chris is plunking out a groovy foundation, Brahim helping the beat and Logic is filling in some of the gaps — gotta give him credit for good listening, that’s for sure; I’m not a big DJ guy, but Logic is by far my favourite. Anyway, this all builds up into a super solid groove/composition with excellent interplay across the stage.

A Bass’n’Drums jam emerges on track #6 from the aftermath of the previous groove, and leads us once again into very cool build as a unit — everyone is really listening, and that’s something I really dig about MMW and who they generally pick to sit-in.

Then a gospel groove begins track #7, and in retrospect it has the same feel as the cover of Suspicious Minds the band busted out in 2012. Anyway, this is a welcome sunshine feel to an otherwise very-night-time-feeling set of music … again Logic is sneaking into some cool spaces and Medeski is moving from organ to piano, Chris is just boppin’ us along with Billy/Brahim — these two are working like one guy with four hands, which reminds me of how Billy and Cyro Baptista groove together. VERY nice! (Brahim has sat in w/MMW a few times over the years, to great effect.) When this groove closes with a bang …

Brahim Fribgane c.2005

We start to hear some more open space exploration at the start of track #8, led mainly by the percussion sounds … Medeski comes in with sssssome lasers from outer space … and we are heading into a FREAKIN’ KILLER TUNE! It’s like the vibe of the entire set has built to this moment (hindsight = 20/20). Just after 3min you hear the melody tinkering on the oud — oh, man, this is such a great tune! Just listen … the oud has such a cool sound! The tune, Hegaz, I think was written by Brahim and is also played in Club d’Elf, a band Brahim also plays in sometimes.

(Those of you who’ve been around a while might recall I was calling this song Ziphim back when these shows were happening because it really reminded me of a slightly altered version of that Zorn tune. Then I just changed it to “Brahim Boogie” after I was convinced it wasn’t Ziphim because I didn’t know the tune.)

Billy chats with the crowd a bit, trying to remember a song title, and then we get a set-closing Curtis which starts off in an unsuspecting manner for a tune that will blow up into a HEAVY GROOVE!

Martin @Montreux Jazz Festival, Montreux, Switzerland 2005-07-08

– LATE SET –

Short intro from Billy as he waits for their guests to return to the stage, and then the sounds of outer space once again fill the air …

An oddly built groove establishes itself on track #1 — like, a random listener would not call this a “groove”, but it is! John moves from piano to clavinet, intermixing, while Billy/Brahim keep the percussive beats busy and Logic adds some bleeps and bloops … where’s Chris? Hard to hear him in this section, but close to 5min in you can hear his low end filling in the groove, Billy’s going crazy and so is John. The chaos subsides as we roll over …

To track #2 with some gentle methodic piano accompanied by some bowed bass and percussive tinkerings, along with Logic zaps. This turns into something hauntingly beautiful as John leads the melodic exploration here.

MMW @Montreux Jazz Festival, Montreux, Switzerland 2005-07-08

Track #3 finds the ensemble falling off into open space … these 5 guys are really digging the open vibes this night! This playfulness reaches some frantically anxious energy by the end of the track …

So track #4’s improvisation has grown out of that previous open exploration, and it is sparse with Chris leading the melody using wacky electric plunking while John interjects with piano, and the percussion brothers keep it all moving. Chris starts digging into his groove a bit more after 2min in but this subsides a bit and the sparse groove continues until Billy moves to the kit and picks up the tempo — everyone else responds. Close to 8min into this track the music splits apart again into more open exploration … yep, they are loving that … and you will love where this once again leads …

Wood @Montreux Jazz Festival, Montreux, Switzerland 2005-07-08

HEGAZ! Track #5 finds the musicians resurrecting Hegaz from the earlier set – SWEET! MMW will go onto play this song numerous times throughout the spring tour, but these performances with Brahim on oud are MUST HEAR! It’s Brahim’s tune, we think, and he leads the ensemble brilliantly through it … love this TUNE! Never disappoints … and the version with MMW’s bus driver, Dominic Placo, on trumpet from April ’05 is outstanding!

Next up we get a Bass Solo intermingled with some open improvisation that lands us in a nice bluesy number — in a similar vein, the EARLY SET offered a nice gospel groove near the end as a ray of sunshine in an otherwise darkly-vibed set of music, and so the LATE SET likewise offers a sunny vibe at this point.

Martin @Montreux Jazz Festival, Montreux, Switzerland 2005-07-08

illyB then introduces the band, and we’ve got time for “one more” … unfortunately, only one more tune, not set.

Queen Bee closes out the gig in fine form — the guys really dug this tune at the time, with lots of stellar performances and variations on it from late ’03-’05 … this one is exceptionally no exception …

A quick break, and the guys come out to lead us down Swamp Road for the encore … and if you haven’t listened to the duet take on that tune which Medeski and Logic recorded years ago, check it out too:

And of course, after hearing this gig I’ve always wanted to hear the next night, 3/8/2005, but alas, it’s never circulated … at least, not that I’ve seen …

Tonic seemed to allow the band to feel some good vibes with nothing but stellar gigs from that space. Never had the opportunity to attend, myself, but all the gigs for which we have recordings are many of my favourite MMW shows, and many involve HUGE DOSES OF IMPROVISATION — like this week’s pick — so soak up this Friday Afternoon In The Universe

enjoy the grooves,
dug


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