"Tonic" by Medeski, Martin & Wood (2000)
The second live release from Jazz's tremendous trio takes its name from the intimate NYC club where it was recorded. What a great record--it certainly made it clear to me that I don't listen to Jazz as much as I should. As Jazz goes these guys are hard-core--often experimental and improvisational--don't buy this expecting Cocktail Lounge tinkling. The album does grow more accessible and mellower as it goes, but itÕs chock full of unaccompanied bass and drum solos and even though they're often stupendously cool, Tonic is definitely better suited to the serious Jazz buff. On the other hand the seven tracks are a fairly evenly mixed bag and you can track-skip around depending upon your mood.
John Medeski is high among the most brilliant pianists ever. Reminiscent here of Oscar Peterson and there of Brubeck--he'll present a basic theme, and then he's off to explore improvisational frontiers. As for Martin and Wood, they go along for the ride like extensions of Medeski's brain. Their solos are mighty and ambitious and rarely get on your nerves. MMW are like a great three-headed Jazz monster. Just when you think your brain might crash they hit you with stretches of lovely melodic calm. I'd highly recommend it to Jazz fans from Pat Metheny and Keith Jarrett--to old school pioneers like Basie and Peterson. Tonic might be exactly what you need right now, but if you're not into Jazz it might be the worst crap you've ever heard.
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