Farmer's Reserve is the initial release on Medeski, Martin & Wood's Indirecto label. Probably deemed too "out" for major commercial release, this recording shows that their free improvisation credentials are still up to date. John Medeski left his Clavinet and Hammond organs at home, and concentrated on prepared piano, toy piano, and sparing use of a Yamaha synth. Chris Wood plays acoustic bass, and drummer Billy Martin has his usual assortment of drums and hand percussion. Leaving behind the groove aesthetic that has garnered them so much popularity, this record showcases each musician's ability to create and respond simultaneously. The album is basically four improvised pieces, with most of the pieces having a series of "movements." Years of playing together have given them nearly telepathic interplay. They know when to explore a musical area they've discovered, and when to move on as well. Although the music is free improvised, this is not to say that it doesn't have any melodic or rhythmic sense whatsoever -- but that's not the goal here. This recording is a document of a moment in time when three longtime friends/musicians spontaneously created music with no rules or preconceptions. Hats off to MMW for taking a chance like this.
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AllMusic Review by Sean Westergaard