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. (In fact, MSW were a very vital part of the early days of the original Knitting Factory, when it was known as the home of experimental jazz).
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 – or more creatively MSMW. The quartet’s latest 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,” as well as a nubmer of original compositions. The album’s latest single “Juicy Lucy” borrows liberally from old Cuban and boogaloo grooves, giving the song a propulsive and funky rhythm while displaying elements of rock and jazz in a wild mind-bending manner. Much like the album’s previous single “Sham Time,” “Juicy Lucy” has a shambling, almost impromptu feel that emphasizes the loose, danceable feel; in fact, “Juicy Lucy” may be the most danceable song MSMW have released to date. You should almost be inspired to grab someone and have them dance with you.
The official video for the song features Billy Martin’s 81 year old mother, who was a Radio City Rockette and could still dance, spliced with footage of the band goofing off and animation. It’s actually quite endearing.