|Trouble playing tunes?|
- 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
– ONE SET (tracks 1-10) –
– SHACK THOUGHTS –
FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE (FAITU#40)
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!
– 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 …
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!
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,