John Medeski Performs ‘Portrait Of Zippy’ For ‘Quarantine Comes Alive’

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Keyboardist John Medeski contributed a performance of the instrumental “Portrait Of Zippy” to last Saturday’s Quarantine Comes Alive virtual music festival. Medeski recorded the video at Applehead Recording in Woodstock, New York for the event, which raised over $160K for participating artists and charitable organizations including the PLUS1 COVID-19 Relief Fund, Sweet Relief, MusiCares and Backline.

“‘Portrait of Zippy’ is a musical impression of Schlitzie featured in the 1932 movie Freaks and the inspiration for the comic strip Zippy the Pinhead,” Medeski told Live For Live Music, who organized Quarantine Comes Alive. “He was a circus performer for decades who never mentally developed beyond a 3-year-old and was left in a hospital to die by his handlers’ daughter after they died in the ’60s. Fortunately, a member of the circus (apparently a sword swallower) rescued him and got him out to perform again in LA. His life and spirit touched the hearts of many people and made an impact on pop culture offering a hopeful message.”

The Medeski Martin & Wood keyboardist created the drum template used in the track with help from the Woodstock Sessions team. Medeski then played a top the pre-recorded drums at Applehead Recording. Watch John Medeski’s “Portrait Of Zippy” below:

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