|Trouble playing tunes?|
- 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 SoloSet 2: Shacklyn Knights > Bass Solo, Last Chance to Dance Trance (Perhaps), Just Like I Pictured It, No Ke Ano Ahiahi, Heaven On Earthwith Joshua Light Show
– 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.
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 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.
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,