Pop & Hiss

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Medeski, Martin and Wood keep stretching

November 20, 2008 |  7:09 pm


In my new role as jazz critic for the L.A. Times, I talked with newly independent avant-jazz trio Medeski, Martin and Wood about their place in the jazz world, their somewhat contentious relationship with their jam-band fan base and their freaky yet oddly logical plan to release three albums in one year and never actually tour to promote a single one. (It makes sense once you read it.)

The band also discussed its last album before its contract ended with Blue Note records. The album, the uneven, somewhat more commercial "End of the World Party (Just in Case)," was produced by the Dust Brothers' John King. According to drummer Billy Martin, Blue Note was excited by the prospect of the improv-fueled MMW working with an outside producer, and the trio thought the world of their experience with King. Martin added that the Roots' ?uestlove and the ever-in-demand Jon Brion were also on their wishlist.

"We never met with ?uestlove, but Jon Brion we met, and I would love to work with him. I didn't even know who he was back then . . . Medeski met with him, and now I respect [Brion] even more because Brion just said, 'You guys don't need a producer.' And I was like, 'This guy's really good,' " Martin laughed.

Read the full story here.

Medeski, Martin and Wood play the El Rey on Friday night.

--Chris Barton

Photo: John Medeski, Billy Martin and Chris Wood. Credit: Danny Clinch