The trio of Billy Martin (drums), John Medeski (keyboards and piano) and Chris Wood (double bass and electric bass), best known as Martin Medeski and Wood or MSW are luminaries in the downtown Manhattan jazz scene for their relentless creativity and experimentalism, as well as their grenre-busting collaborations with a variety of musicians.
Interestingly, John Scofield, who once played with Miles Davis recruited MSW to back him for his critically acclaimed 1997 release, A Go Go, and it began a rather fruitful collaboration between the quartet that dubbed itself Martin Scofield Medeski and Wood. The quartet’s forthcoming album Juice
features renditions of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin,’” The Doors “Light My Fire” and of jazz saxophonist Eddie Harris’ classic composition “Sham Time,” which is coincidentally, the album’s first single. And their rendition is charmingly shambling, as though the quartet was messing around one afternoon during an impromptu jam session – and yet, despite the rambling nature of their rendition, MSMW manage to have a tight, swinging groove that immediately brings to my mind New Orleans jazz. However, the more I’ve listened to the song, the more the MSMW rendition manages to remind me of two of my favorite Michael Brecker albums Time Is Of The Essence and Two Blocks From The Edge, two albums which have the same exact quality.