Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood: Juice

COMPOSERS: Martin & Wood,Medeski,Scofield
LABELS: Okeh
ALBUM TITLE: Juice
PERFORMER: John Medeski (keyboards), John Scofield (guitar), Billy Martin (drums) etc

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Over the last couple of decades keyboardist John Medeski, drummer Billy Martin and bassist Chris Wood (known as Medeski, Martin & Wood) have kept their jazz options open wide. On one hand they have been at the forefront of experimental, often challenging, electronic jazz, with artists like guitarist Nels Cline. But they have also kept a foot firmly on the jazz dancefloor with catchy releases. This latest collaboration, with guitarist John Scofield falls firmly into the second category. The infectious opener ‘Sham Time’, an Eddie Harris classic, gives way to a mixture of cover versions and the band’s own compositions. The latinesque ‘Juicy Lucy’, takes its piano style from trumpeter Hugh Masekela, before introducing Wurlitzer-style organ. By keeping clear of MM&W’s trademark electronic beats, Martin gets a chance to have free range on drums; from jazz-rock to gentle brushes. Former Miles Davis sideman, Scofield, delivers accomplished solos throughout. Neil McKim