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Throwback Thursday: MMW at the Bowery Ballroom, January 1999

Ben Gray
Staff Writer
bengray417@gmail.com

In January of 1999, Medeski, Martin, and Wood held a series of five shows at the Bowery Ballroom with a number of guests featured at each show. The shows were held as part of Blue Note’s 60th anniversary, as MMW had recently signed to the label and released their Combustication album. (For kicks, go ahead and compare Blue Note at 60 with Blue Note at 75 from last year.) There are many highlights from this set of five shows, but I recently re-listened to the January 16th recordings and was much impressed with "Scrontch Meister," a Bob Moses-penned tune that the trio played only during this run as far as I can find and whose title probably provokes either a love or hate reaction - well, you’ll probably want to check out the music either way. While the Bowery shows featured many guests, this tune is just John Medeski on keys, Billy Martin on drums, and Chris Wood on bass, playing a really great version of their groove-heavy jazz on a catchy tune that deserves a re-visit. Audio courtesy of The Shack Project, which has the whole January 16th show (and plenty of other live MMW) streaming here. (Stick with them for the nice improv that follows "Scrontch Meister" featuring Oren Bloedow on guitar.)

"Scrontch Meister"

...And while we’re at it, this was 1999 and MMW had just released Combustication. Unsurprisingly, these Bowery shows included a number of tunes from that album, including a nice version of "Hey Hee Hi Ho" featuring DJ Logic. Check that one out here, too.

"Hey Hee Hi Ho"