In Case the World Changes Its Mind

Music Review

16 Aug 2012
Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood
In Case the World Changes Its Mind
Formats also available: vinyl

Medeski, Martin and Wood have been at the forefront of being different for many years now. Their association with John Scofield originally resulted in the by now cherished legend that is the Scofield’s album A Go Go (1998). So fans of the curious and deliberately idiosyncratic trio will no doubt welcome this double album, others may wonder why two CDs where required to highlight the style of the quartet, when a single CD plus two and a half tracks would have been more than sufficient.

The double set is based on (in the main) live interpretations of the aforementioned A Go Go, but unfortunately this association  has been stretched beyond their natural ability to attract or intrigue. In the main this is an album that offers the NY guys another opportunity to just do as they feel. The reputation and style which made MMW and John Scofield a success is in evidence, but only just. The inclination to musically naval-gaze is indulged liberally which is sometimes a blessing but occasionally a curse.

The rhythms are as compelling as ever, the prog/jazz/funk combination resonates appealingly a lot of the time but there also moments when you feel that there is a private joke being shared between the musicians. They are clearly enjoying themselves and it would seem that the audience went home happy but away from the sweat and the darkness the message doesn’t necessarily translate. For those that wish to find out what the fuss is, the A Go-Go album offers a clearer path to the abilities of this undoubtedly talented combo.

Having said all that, there are two amazing tracks included on CD2 and these highlight the potential and offer proof of greatness. The opener Little Walter Rides Again and track three Amazing Grace which serves to remind all of us how great John Scofield is. These will offer the uninitiated as well as the hardcore a reason to listen to the band's other albums.

Listen to: Little Walter Rides Again, Amazing Grace

Reuben Klein