Monday, 23 June 2014

EIJF: Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood

OK Medeski, Scofield, Martin, and Wood (EIJF @ The Winspear). Here's the thing: a packed house for them and rightly so. This is the first time I've heard them live (apart from John Scofield) so it was quite the education for me. First of all the rhythm section guys were very solid and involved (especially Chris Wood), so the energy was good and convincing. This band is going to appeal to a fairly broad audience and no one should have been disappointed. John Scofield and the blues, with a very powerful jazz knowledge underneath all those groovy bent notes in his bluesy solos which are always a treatise on taste and sound integration was very effective. John Medeski gave us an unfailing optimism and, gave us all an education as to how a Hammond B3 should be run. Apart from his music depth and content, he is also an extreme master of the B3 drawbars...I've never heard anything like it in terms of his exploitation of expressive potential of that instrument. It was fantastic and for the most part ruled the stage. It was so good... Now his harmonic and compositional depth was also in the fore when he played the piano ... long tones using the complete range of the piano.. He listens to the overtones produced and works with that sensitivity as the lines and textures align with each other seamlessly. So there is all this complexity tucked into a groove with a bluesy rock vibe with a hip twist: I must thank him for awakening my ears to the minor 6th chord or the 12b356 pentatonic scale and how he used it in this bluesy rock pattern.. It's a distinctive sound. I first heard it used that way (check this out) in the Julia Roberts movie: Erin Brokovich. The music background on that (Thomas Newman) was very much what I heard from J.M. Very clever and fresh and open sounding stuff. For me this concert had a lot to offer. They do make you listen. Maybe I'll buy a B3

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