Over the summer, the jam juggernauts of moe. went on an indefinite hiatus while bassist Rob Derhak seeks medical treatment for cancer. Over the past twenty-five years, both moe. and Medeski, Martin & Wood have become institutions of the jam scene. Back in 1996, both acts were cutting their teeth in a scene full of burgeoning improvisational music, which was largely inspired by the improvisational jamming of the Grateful Dead and of free jazz. Though vastly different in their approaches, Medeski, Martin, & Wood and moe. both made names for themselves as experts of great composition as well as technique.
Growing up side by side—moe. formed in Buffalo circa 1989, and MMW in New York circa 1991—the two groups have shared the stage on many occasions throughout the years. Keyboardist John Medeski help moe. pay tribute to the Wetlands 25th anniversary back in 2014, and Medeski, Martin, & Wood has previously been featured on the lineup of moe.’s Tropical throe.down. The musical chemistry between John Medeski and moe. has always been palpable, as Medeski’s keys has added an undeniable element to the group in the past.
On October 5th, 1996, moe. took to the iconic stage at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York, treating fans to a great set with extended jams on their classics like “Timmy Tucker,” “Don’t Fuck With Flo”, and more. However, the real surprise came at the very end of the show, when John Medeski emerged to accompany moe. on the Hammond organ for the group’s well-loved song, “Buster.” This rendition of “Buster,” which is now over twenty years old, is a serious one, with the jam clocking in at over twenty-three minutes. You can take a listen for yourself below, courtesy of Jon Pasternak. Enjoy!