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Medeski Martin & Wood
Omnisphere (September 14, 2018)

Medeski Martin & Wood — Omnisphere (Sept. 14, 2018)

       Medeski Martin & Wood — Omnisphere (Sept. 14, 2018) Medeski Martin & Wood — Omnisphere (Sept. 14, 2018)✹    „Čím více jsme pracovali společně, tím víc jsem si uvědomoval, jak je to dokonalé. Jak jsou, vzhledem ke svému vesmíru velmi podobní nám,“ říká klávesista John Medeski. „Máme jistou souvislost, tou je rodina a oni jsou jako rodina, takže je to, jako by se tyto dvě rodiny spojily.“
✹    Album bylo zaznamenáváno živě v The Newman Center v Denveru v Coloradu v únoru 2015. „Omnisphere“ naplňuje dlouho očekávanou aspiraci pro trio Medeski, bubeníka~perkusistu Billy Martina a baskytaristu Chrise Wooda. V nejranějších dnech kapely často poslouchali klasickou a komorní hudbu jako zdroj hudební inspirace a konceptualizovali myšlenku, jak spojit své svobodné improvizačně~jazzové zkoumání s prokomponovanějším přístupem orchestrální hudby. „Měli jsme sbírku více než 500 CD a to nás samotné přeskočilo,“ řekl Martin na scéně v Denveru a připomněl časné silniční válečníky MMW. „A bylo hodně komorní hudby, současné klasické hudby: Ligeti, Feldman, dokonce i Sun Ra. Takže sdílejte to a teď jsme tady, je to sen splněný a my ho milujeme.“ Pro Alarm Will Sound byly tyto pocity vzájemné. „Věděli jsme, že máme nějakou vítězku,“ říká Alan Pierson, umělecký ředitel a dirigent souboru. „Řada [našich hudebníků] si opravdu vymodlila trio Medeski Martin & Wood po dlouhých létech, a tak bylo v souboru hodně vzrušení.“
✹    A co skladby, krasavče? Tak např. famózní nabídka, „Eye of Ra“ je 20~ti minutová tour do stanice  Síla, odrážející panoramatický rozsah jeho vlivů a zkušeností — v odstínech Stravinského a Šostakoviče, které podtrhují jeho tréninkové roky v New England Conservatory v Bostonu [Dewey Redman, Billy Higgins, Bob Mintzer, Alan Dawson], úseky hard~groovů, které vyvolávají představu živé scény centra NYC. No nic, pojďme poslouchat a zahoď ten ohryzek jablíčka, Toníku.
✹    Progressive New York City~based jazz fusionists who straddle the gap between avant~garde improvisation and accessible groove~based jazz.
✹    MMW are geniuses. Their grooves dance in and out of jazz, funk, hip hop, and all out jams. Anyone who puts down their style has zero musical taste. They are the epitome of the jam band and are all individually talented musicians, combining for an explosion of creativity. I have yet to hear anything bad by them. This album was recorded in a little shack in hawaii, hence its name...and is the perfect starting point. If you like this, check out Combustication...which guest stars DJ Logic.
Location: Brooklyn, New York, USA
Genres: Alternative Rock, World Music, Jazz, New Age, Pop, R&B, Rock
Styles: Avant Garde, Jazz Fusion, Soul~Jazz & Boogaloo, Funk, Classical
Album release: September 14, 2018
Format: 2 LP, CD
Recorded: February 5, 2015
Record Label: Indirecto Records
Duration:     20:31 + 18:12 + 19:56 + 12:54 => 71:35
1. Kid Tao Mammal — Unworldliness Weirdo     14:14
2. Anonymous Skulls     6:18
3. Coral Sea     7:28
4. Oh Ye of Little Faith... — Do You Know Where Your Children Are?  10:44
5. Northern Lights     7:37
6. Eye of Ra     19:57
7. End of the World Party — Just in Case     5:17
✹   John Medeski — Keyboards
✹   Billy Martin — Drums & Percussion
✹   Chris Wood — Bass
✹   Cover — Billy Martin
✹   Mastered — Alan Silverman
✹   Mixed — Alan Silverman, Mike Tierney
Authored by Michael Clayville: Trombone
✹    „The more we worked together, the more I realized how perfect this is. How they are, for their universe, very much like us,“ says keyboardist John Medeski. „We have a certain connection that’s like family and they’re like a family, so it’s like these two families coming together.“
✹    Recorded live at The Newman Center in Denver, Colorado in February 2015, ‘Omnisphere’ fulfills a long~eld aspiration for Medeski, drummer~percussionist Billy Martin and bassist Chris Wood. In the earliest days of the band, they would often listen to classical and chamber music as a source of musical inspiration, conceptualizing the idea of how to merge their freewheeling improvisational jazz explorations with the more composed approach of orchestral music.
✹    “We had a collection of over 500 CDs, and that’s what got us through,” Martin said onstage in Denver, recalling MMW’s early road~warrior years. „And there was a lot of chamber music, contemporary classical music: Ligeti, Feldman, Sun Ra even. So sharing that and now we’re here, it’s a dream come true, and we love it.“ For Alarm Will Sound, the feelings were mutual. „We knew we had a winner of an idea,“ says Alan Pierson, the ensemble’s artistic director and conductor. „A number of [our musicians] have really idolized Medeski Martin & Wood for years, and so there was a lot of excitement in the group.“
✹    The seven~track program on ‘Omnisphere’ strikes an ideal balance, with original music by members of both groups, plus new AWS arrangements of two cuts off MMW’s 2004 release, ‘End of the World Party (Just in Case).’ The original release featured the trio’s trademark avant~grooves underneath an array of keyboards — including plenty of Mellotron — with pop~savvy production by the Dust Brothers’ John King. On these reinventions of “End of the World Party,” arranged by cellist Stefan Freund, and “Anonymous Skulls,” arranged by violinist Courtney Orlando, the album’s atmospheric replicas of strings and choir are made real through Alarm Will Sound’s rich orchestral tapestry. Think of classic soul~jazz with strings LPs, though on another plateau of insight and imagination.
✹    Martin’s “Coral Sea,” given an impressionistic arrangement by founding AWS trumpeter Jason Price, explores „colors and hues and nuance — all these things that are barely there,“ the composer says. Medeski’s offering, “Eye of Ra,” is a 20~minute tour~de~force that reflects the panoramic scope of his influences and experience — from shades of Stravinsky and Shostakovich that underscore his training at New England Conservatory, to rollicking, hard~grooving sections that summon up the NYC downtown scene.The lead~off composition, “Kid Tao Mammal (Unworldliness Weirdo),” was commissioned for the project and written by founding AWS percussionist Payton MacDonald, and it sets the pace for the beyond genre music to follow: speedy, cresting waves of strings and woodwinds, with startling punches of brass; funky rhythms bolstering Medeski’s psychedelic electric piano; an ambient, near~dissonant section split open by Martin’s drum solo; a thrilling finale. Other works composed by AWS personnel include multi~instrumentalist Caleb Burhans‘ “Oh Ye of Little Faith…(Do You Know Where Your Children Are?),” which evokes the gorgeously emotive, slow~burning side of the Minimalists; and Miles Brown‘s cyclical, noirish “Northern Lights,” named in part after the Detroit lounge where the bassist had a regular jazz~trio gig. Onstage, Brown called his contribution „an opportunity for me to write for my band, and for a band that I’ve been listening to for a long time that I know could handle some improvisation. Just a little bit,“ he added, chuckling.
✹    Medeski Martin & Wood w/ Alarm Will Sound’s ‘Omnisphere’ is out September 14, 2018 on limited edition 2 LP vinyl and digital formats.
About Medeski Martin & Wood
✹    Formed in New York City in 1991, Medeski Martin & Wood became one of improvised music’s greatest crossover successes throughout the next decade. Marrying elements of funk, hip~hop and rock with a foundation in jazz and the avant~garde, MMW’s nonstop touring and inspired studio and live recordings, on labels like Gramavision, Blue Note and their own Indirecto imprint, gained them a loyal, wide~ranging following. Prior to the Indirecto release of ‘Omnisphere,’ their most recent effort was ‘Juice,’ the latest document in a landmark partnership with guitarist John Scofield. “This is a band that has earned the right to do whatever it wants and hasn’t remotely run out of options,“ writes The New York Times.
✹    The most combustible and rangy trio in NYC of the last twenty years expands into full orchestration. Omnisphere combines the nimble gumption of Medeski, Martin & Wood with the convention~busting modern creative twenty~person band Alarm Will Sound in a gutsy collaboration that was recorded live at Denver’s Newman Center in February, 2015.
✹    Maybe we should have seen this coming; John Medeski, Billy Martin & Chris Wood had long shared a love for contemporary classical music that occasionally spilled over into their own music. And this is a group that, after all, has long ventured outside its comfort zone (assuming it has one) more than they stayed in it. Nonetheless, dramatically scaling up a idiosyncratic musical approach that had up to now had only relied on the interaction between three or four musicians required quite of bit of imagination and in Alarm Will Sound, they found the meeting of the musical minds needed to pull this off.
✹    The temporary partnership works largely because MMW invested a lot of trust into the orchestra, incorporating originals from AWS members and having them handle arrangements that keenly incorporate the freewheeling vibe of MMW. Percussionist Payton MacDonald’s „Kid Tao Mammal (unworldliness weirdo)“ allows the three to burrow its way into the consciousness until Medeski’s acid~drenched electric piano can’t be ignored and neither can Billy Martin’s roiling drum feature that breaks up the near~silence further down the line. „Northern Lights“ was written by AWS bassist Miles Brown, who wrote it for both bands in mind and accordingly, it balances the trio jazz of the smaller unit and the grand, sweeping charts of the larger one.
✹    There’s probably nothing here as sweeping as Medeski’s „Eye of Ra,“ however. A sometimes violent clash of Western neo~classicalism and Downtown experimentation and even rock ‘n’ roll, it’s probably as close to a summation of all of Medeski’s influences as there is. AWS trumpeter Jason Price gave Martin’s „Coral Sea“ a decidedly affecting treatment put squarely on the classical side of things, as is Caleb Burhan’s’ slowly unraveling „Oh Ye Of Little Faith… (Do You Know Where Your Children Are?).“
✹    Two songs are drawn from MMW’s 2004’s release End of the World Party (Just in Case). „Anonymous Skulls“ exemplifies the heady brand of soul jazz the threesome are known for with AWS making its presence known at strategic points. „End of the World Party (Just in Case)“ is closer to a 50/50 collaboration, as the low strings of the orchestra swoop in at the opening theme to highlight the dark, funky theme of the song and wordless chants a la Kamasi Washington outline the harmony, allowing Medeski — and later, Wood — to leave behind some licks.
✹    This is Medeski, Martin and Wood like you’ve never heard them before. A fair statement to make about a lot of their albums but this time, the ambition is as far as they’ve ever taken it. Omnisphere goes on sale September 14, 2018 through MMW’s own imprint Indirecto Records.
✹    http://somethingelsereviews.com/
Website: https://medeskimartinandwood.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mmwband
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mmwband/

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