Wide open: That’s the phrase John Medeski uses to describe his bandmates’ musical sensibilities, the attitude he seeks in himself, and the spirit of musical adventure that Medeski Martin & Wood have pursued for two decades.
The trio’s amalgam of jazz, funk, “avant-noise” and a million other musical currents and impulses is nearly impossible to classify, which is just how they like it. Medeski’s keyboard excursions, Chris Wood’s hard-charging bass lines and Billy Martin’s supple, danceable beats have come to resemble a single organism, moving gracefully between genre-defying compositions and expansive improvisation atop a relentless groove.
What the three had in common before their band was a relationship with jazz mentor/drummer Bob Moses, who first brought his conservatory-trained protégés Medeski and Wood together for a session. “John was a madman,” Wood recalls. “He could drive the music, but it wasn’t about the limelight – just raw enthusiasm. He had a freer spirit than you find in most musicians. It was inspiring to be around.