1996-10-07 – SHACK PARTY IV
FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE (FAITU#30)
The Shack Project celebrates MMW @25 years!
– SHACK THOUGHTS — SHACK PARTIES I-VII ’96 –
Listen to these gigs. Listen to all of these gigs — it’s the best advice I can give you. These Shack Parties, where the band played for 7 Mondays in a row at the Knitting Factory in NYC, encompass such a wide range of the band’s talents and musical interests that a summation would simply do the music an injustice. Whether you dig a certain track or guest through this run, you have to admit that each guest brings something unique to the mix which in turn causes the band to react and shift, making the music they all create something adventuresome and real for that moment only. There are also plenty of moments where it’s just the trio and you’ll love it. As they explore both groove and open space with/out guests, it is clear this is a band out to make inspired music.
Oren Bloedow’s speech during Set II of the last Shack Party puts it best … so take a listen and Shack-out with these near 20 year-old musical explorations …
– SHACK PARTY IV THOUGHTS –
So this is WAY cool — I love when this happens! I was about to write that the opening of this 4th Shack Party contains one of my favourite improvisations from the run, maybe ever — I threw on the groove to listen as I write and it hit me: “That’s a tune! I know that tune! From where … ?!” A few years ago I discovered that a groove played during Nov-Dec ’96 labelled as an improvisation since the shows was actually an unidentified song — the “improvisation” was always the same groove, so that’s an MMW song to me! I named the tracked “Binghamton Slide Groove” because the first show I found containing the song was 11/2/1996 from Binghamton, NY — the song was played a few more times and then never heard from again … or so I thought, and it turns out this Shack Party version is actually the first known performance of the tune — it’s a great melody and groove, I don’t know why the band would drop it, but you can check it out at the opening of this show and Danny Blume adds some real nice guitar over the track (even has a cool little breakdown). From “Binghamton Slide Groove” the music moves to Open space before illyB cops a short Drum Solo leading to the start of the next groove, the first full Improv of the night, and the group moves through two more distinct improvisations before the last fizzles down to some nice piano from Medeski before it just drops into a thunderous vamp while Billy introduces the musicians. Rob Scheps has once again joined the guys on stage as well, a Shack Party regular, and his playing fits in perfectly with the players — you can hear Scheps getting more comfortable as he returns each week. The trio alone close the set with a Shack-take on Ellington’s Wig Wise, including an extended drum interlude — set break.
G. Calvin Weston joins for the start of the 2nd set, so he and illyB get things moving with a Drums jam (I’ve seen Weston with MMW in another setting, and he and Billy are kindred spirits — they have an extended history). Scheps once again steps up on sax, and Dean Bowman comes out to deliver some Dean-Bowman-like vocal riffing (coolest part is the initial take on the Murder by Numbers lyrics, but then he goes off the rails a bit for my tastes, per usual). Likewise, Goodbye Pork Pie Hat features Bowman’s vocal input with varying success (IMHO), but then IMPROVISATION takes over the remainder of the set — sans vocals — and the results are one of the BEST RUN OF GROOVES over this whole run. It’s just the trio at first, but then Danny Blume returns to the stage for what I can only call an Is There Anybody Here That Love My Jesus IMPROV! VERY COOL! Blume remains for the following section of groove that erupts into a celebratory climax, before fizzling down again and leaving only the trio on stage to wrap up the evening with one final kick at the Improvisatory-can, which begins with this wild melody being bowed by Chris on the stand-up and things just get wackier and more fun from there … by the time John lands on the piano … whoah … or maybe this is a song too? …
This is one of my personal favourite overall gigs from the Shack Party run, and hope it helps you enjoy this Friday Afternoon In The Universe, as we head into Canadian Thanksgiving – HAPPY T-DAY, MY FELLOW CANUCKS!
enjoy the grooves,
- MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD (w/ guests)
Shack Party IV
Knitting Factory, New York, NY
Monday, October 07, 1996
Set 1: “Binghamton Slide Groove”~# > Open Improv#* > Drum Solo > Improv#* > Improv#* > Improv#*! > Wig WiseSet 2: Drums+ > Improv+^@, Goodbye Pork Pie Hat^, Improv > ITAHTLMJ Improv#, Improv# > ImprovShack Party IV
~ first known performance
# Danny Blume – guitar
* Rob Scheps – tenor sax
+ G. Calvin Weston – drums
^ Dean Bowman – vocals
! Billy introduces musicians at end of track while John and Chris play out
@ w/Murder By Numbers lyrics
– SET I (tracks 1-3) –
– SET II (tracks 4-9) –