Friday, November 12
10pm
9:30 Club
Washington, DC

“A group that effortlessly straddles the gap between avant-garde improvisation and accessible groove-based jazz, Medeski, Martin & Wood have simultaneously earned standings as relentlessly innovative musicians and as an enormously popular act. Emerging out of the New York downtown scene in the early ’90s, MMW soon set out on endless cross-country tours before returning home to Manhattan to further refine their sound through myriad influential experimentations. Each of the musicians, keyboardist John Medeski, drummer/percussionist Billy Martin, and bassist Chris Wood, had crossed paths throughout the ’80s, playing with the likes of John Lurie, John Zorn, and Martin mentor Bob Moses. In 1991, the trio officially convened for an engagement at New York’s Village Gate. Soon, the group was rehearsing in Martin’s loft, writing, and then recording 1992’s self-released Notes from the Underground. As the group began to tour, escaping the supportive though insular New York music community, Medeski, a former child prodigy, switched to a Hammond B-3 organ rather than a grand piano. Radiolarians I, the first of three loosely linked albums, appeared in the fall of 2008 on the group’s own Indirecto Records imprint. Radiolarians II and III followed a year later, as did the trio’s box set entitled Radiolarians: The Evolutionary Set, containing the trilogy, a disc of remixes by celebrated DJs, a live CD, a double LP chosen from the three original albums, and a DVD documentary shot by Martin entitled Fly in a Bottle. At this stage of the band’s nearly two-decade career, MMW’s reputation has indeed achieved massive proportions. As they always have, the three core bandmembers contribute to numerous other recording projects, both as sidemen and leaders. They are also recognized for carving paths that other musicians have followed, for example, their rise in popularity contributed to a renaissance in B-3-based organ trios, and although many groups had played with DJs before them, MMW’s performances with DJ Logic made it downright fashionable. And while still considered an “alternative” jazz group, Medeski, Martin & Wood continue to draw larger audiences than many of their mainstream counterparts.” -Jesse Jarnow, AllMusicGuide

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