Review | John Medeski | San Francisco

The range of styles heard over the two sets Medeski played that night was quite varied. From smooth, silky jazz chords to be-bop staccato riffing to incredibly dissonant runs to when he simply scratched his nails across the wound copper on the lower piano strings, emulating a DJ’s needle on a turntable. He even half-crawled inside of the open piano hood and plucks the strings as if he was playing an upright bass, all the while losing none of his mastery of phrasing and melody.

While he stayed shy of his extensive catalog of compositions with longtime trio, Medeski, Martin & Wood, the crowd was treated to intricate versions of standards like “Summertime” and “Autumn Leaves”, as well as some re-imagined pop tunes. “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free” from Nina Simone’s 1967 Silk & Soul album and an encore performance of “Hey Joe” were among the night’s most crowd pleasing moments. We even heard traces of the theme from “The Snowman," a 1982 animated holiday film. Medeski is touring behind the release of his first solo record, In A Different Time.

While the room was woefully undersold for such a high-caliber performance, one only hopes that it's just because the spectacular venue has only been open for ten months and word hasn’t yet reached the masses. So if you’re looking to experience true jazz music as it unfolds in front of you there is no better place than the SFJAZZ Center and no better man than John Medeski to take you there.

JamBase | JazzCenter

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[Published on: 10/23/13]

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