Medeski, Martin & Wood – The Dropper

Medeski, Martin & Wood Medeski, Martin & Wood
The Dropper
(Blue Note – 2000)
by Sidney Bechet-Mandela

In the last ten years, no jazz act has done more to bring back fusion, the Hammond B-3 and young kids to jazz than this popular trio. But if you think a large following of 20-something kids and sales figures approaching that magic six figure range is going to make MMW compromise their music, the spacey avant-garde first track off their new joint, “We Are Rolling,” will quickly have you re-thinking that. If you’re trying to understand their popularity skip to track two and four “Big Time,” and “Partido Alto, funk laden avant-garde dance pieces that damn near conjures up a writhing head-banging Generation X-ers doing that generic dance they do.

That’s what truly amazing about this group, is their timing. They came along at the end of the acid jazz frenzy in America and just before the inexplicable resurrection of avant-garde music on college campuses all across America, and MMW has been the main beneficiary. Fortunately, these guys have artistic scruples and won’t give in to the dough. They keep exploring dance rhythms and far off harmonies and shaking them up to see what they come up with. The important thing is that they’ve got folks dancing and walking into the record stores asking for jazz.