by Daniel Lenk
It's my favourite time of the week, when the Ran Music sampler goes up online. Big thanks once again to Chairman Wow for taking time to work with us on the sampler.
Ran Music in cooperation with Beijing's DJ Chairman Wow brings you the Ran Music Sampler #8. The Ran Music sampler is a spotlight on an intriguing artist working independently or on an established label which we are excited to share, from the past or present. This week we take a look at the incredible Medenski, Martin and Wood.
"As an adolescent, my parents were hell-bent on giving me an instrument to pick up in order to avoid the lure of drugs and other illicit behaviors. Once I received a saxophone from them, I delved deeper and deeper into the world of jazz and one band which I was introduced to which opened up so many avenues of music to me was Medeski, Martin and Wood. I remember the moment of astonishment when I came across Jack Kerouac's work, Friday Afternoon in the Universe, which shared a title with one of my favorite albums by Medeski, Martin and Wood. It was one of those moments where everything just comes together in a beautiful way."
"From a personal viewpoint as a student of jazz music, it has to be stressed just how important the work of Medeski, Martin and Wood has been as an absolutely crucial bridge between eras of jazz music, that it was a significant force for the development of modern jazz. Within all of these developments soul jazz was emerging as a key development within the evolution of jazz, away from both fusion and bop. The diverse range of elements that the group introduced to their music, such as the folktronica of Beta band and the trip hip of artists like Portishead and DJ Shadow combined to create a very wide-reaching range of material. In addition, the variety of artists that have collaborated with the group, from DJ Logic to John Scofield display the malleability of the bands music. They are essentially the type of band which can be equally comfortable playing Bonnaroo, the Symphony Center, or a Chicago Blues festival."
"Veering away from the rigid New York jazz environment, the three musicians were attracted to the experimentalism of the underground music and art world where they further developed their outstanding improvisational skills. The group felt that they were in a position where jazz had become nebulous and they were in a position to cultivate what they wished to. The shaping of this music took a decidedly non-academic approach, borrowing from multiple influences which are expressed within the wide variety of their work. The hammond organ also played a key role in this development, creating sounds which would work equally well within hip hop or jazz revival. In fact, their work with Blue Note, the 'Sub Pop' or 'Rough Trade' of the jazz world, was highly innovative and further expanded the jazz genre. With great foresight, whilst on Blue Note, they had 12'' singles printed for Djs to use for their own music within the club format. Undoubtedly, modern hip hop Djs have actively drew on this musical energy which MMW were instrumental in shaping."