Medeski, Martin & Wood

Friday Afternoon in the Universe

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Here, the MMW direction and loyalties become very clear; they're possessed and driven by the fatback funk and instruments of an earlier generation. John Medeski becomes one of the wave of keyboardists in the '90s who started dragging wonderful old Wurlitzer electric pianos, Hohner clavinets, Hammond organs, wah-wah pedals, and other devices out of the mothballs, and used them almost as quasi-percussion instruments at times. Chris Wood remains resolutely on standup bass, playing with a great feeling for Billy Martin's supremely funky drumming. Some of the results harken back to Miles Davis' jungle bands of the mid-'70s, picking up on the atonality and crosstalk over the JB's/Sly Stone beat ("We're So Happy"). Others are just happy to groove along on the rhythms of some of the most irresistible group chemistry of the 1990s.

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