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
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 &
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]