Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood’s new album, Juice, will certainly not disappoint old or new fans. It maintains that sound of blues and jazz, showing the non-believers that the greatest genres of American music are alive and kicking. Whether they are jamming on the 12 bar blues structure or modulating from musical moon to moon, these songs are captivating works.
Medeski Martin and Wood’s first studio collaboration with John Scofield in eight years, the quartet have successfully made an album that is just at home in the chic jazz spots of lower Manhattan or the main stage at the east coast’s most hip summer festivals. My choice tracks:
North London: Really groovin’. Swinging drums throughout. Those rhythms on the ride cymbal just move the song so efficiently. The bass is locked with the drums; they move as one. Scofield’s twangy licks and Medeski’s dirty organ chops work together like left and right hand. This song is funky, spacey, jolly, and back to funky, for 6:36 of sounds you can’t help but move to.
I Know You: Blues guitar over a jazz standard-esque rhythm section. Anyone who puts on this song is bound to dig it. The piano solo is smooth and reminiscent of that high-class lounge feel with acoustic guitar comping behind it. Wood’s upright bass line is as smooth as they get and Martin’s brushes throughout the jam are the icing on the cake as far as I’m concerned.
Sunshine Of Your Love: They took the power trio Cream’s most famous track and decided to launch it into the ionosphere with a one-drop reggae beat. I mean, they got freaking dub tracks on it. The space cadets listening will ask, “Dude, why hasn’t anyone done this yet?” Medeski’s bubble chords, Scofield’s guitar, Martin’s rim shots on the snare, and Wood’s Irie bass line keep this song floating 600km above us all. Best part: It’s eleven minutes long.
Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood have created an LP that has its place for rainy days overcast and sun shiny days where the heat doesn’t even make you sweat. It has its place in dark clubs after hours and early afternoon set times at your “critically acclaimed” favorite festie. Will this album stand the test of time? Obviously.
Check out MSMW playing “Sham Time,” the first track off of Juice.
1 Sham Time
2 North London
3 Louis the Shoplifter
4 Juicy Lucy
5 I Know You
7 Light My Fire
8 Sunshine Of Your Love
10 The Times They Are a-Changin’