Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood | The Vic | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood

Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood

Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood 

When: Sat., Dec. 13, 8 p.m. 2014
Price: $36
It’s relatively faint praise when I call Medeski Martin & Wood the world’s best jam band, because the competition is so tedious and the trio is capable of so much more. Some of its best work in recent years has come during collaborations, which force the band away from its groove-oriented status quo. Earlier this year the group released the all-improvised Woodstock Sessions Vol. 2 with guitarist Nels Cline, a pairing that injected a level of aggression, abstraction, and noise into the proceedings and generated an exciting tension and a new palette of sounds. At the other end of the spectrum is the trio’s ongoing partnership with guitarist John Scofield, which tends to bring a rock-flavored concision to the music despite the abundant solos. Juice (Indirecto), their fourth collaborative release, is all about hip-shaking pleasure accompanied by generous dollops of melody. Scofield’s “North London” features a brisk Brazilian samba groove but melodically feels like a 60s rock song, and “Juicy Lucy” literally swipes the central riff from “Louie Louie” en route to a deep Afro-Cuban workout. The quartet also updates classic-rock warhorses like “Light My Fire” and “Sunshine of Your Love,” which suggests that it isn’t shooting for the moon; in fact, the sights are mostly set on the feet, and the tracks will get you dancing with impressive frequency. —Peter Margasak
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