Shack-man is the most seamless sewing of avant-groove garments yet by this N.Y.C. trio. The tunes on MMW’s third album elevate your rear with their erudite elucidations, while allowing your mind to get on down with your booty. Hammond B-3 man John Medeski uses a battalion of pedals, from wah to phaser, to march over Billy Martin’s hip, hopping drums and Chris Wood’s bubblicious bass. MMW’s strength is its drawing from the full spectrum of musical colors. While its lineup indicates soul-jazz, MMW’s music is as reminiscent of the Roots, Can, Sun Ra, and the Beastie Boys as it is of Larry Young or Jimmy Smith. But there is no group, and certainly no trio, that can touch MMW’s dense palette of textured funk, tactile harmonics, and groovy abandon. The group performs four-hour jam sessions on Monday nights at the Knitting Factory, and these marathon sessions obviously give MMW a chance to woodshed before they hit the Shack, the band’s remote Hawaiian retreat and recording mecca. The result: Shack-man is flawless. Any second-rate material was left among the remnants on the floor of the Knitting Factory, with only the finest threads traveling to the 50th state. This is MMW’s couture collection.

—Christopher Porter

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