Medeski, Martin & Wood & Nels Cline – Woodstock Sessions

Ever since we discovered that Medeski Martin & Wood were reprising their awe-inspiring collaboration with Wilco guitarist Nels Cline we’ve been awaiting details on the quartet’s album. Today, those details have been revealed as Medeski Martin & Wood + Nels Cline have announced the release of The Woodstock Sessions (Vol. 2) on April 22.

As a refresher, the foursome came together to record the LP on August 27, 2013 at Applehead Studios in Woodstock, NY in front of an intimate gathering of 75 lucky ticket holders. MMW+C’s session was part of a new series that aims to bring established and emerging recording artists together with their fans in the recording studio to capture inspired, one-off performances.

“Michael Birnbaum from Applehead Studios and I had been talking about this for over two years. We’re all trying to figure out what to do in this crazy music business, how to keep things going and above water, how to keep the music real and keep the connection with the audience real,” explained John Medeski in a press release announcing the album. “Applehead Studios is a great space. Beyond just being a recording facility it sounds so good live that we thought we could find a way to play for people here and get something special out of it.”

“We feel that the presence of the audience in the room with the musicians creates an energetic accelerant to the experience and to the end product that we capture and reproduce. The idea is to honor the craftsmanship that happens on both sides of the glass and lets folks have a rare look into the sanctified space that is the recording studio,” Birnbaum added.

At Applehead Studios the quartet treated fans to nearly two hours of improvised music spanning two sets. The Applehead production/engineering team of Michael Birnbaum, Chris Bittner and Kevin Salem edited and mixed the music MMW+C laid down into nine separate tracks. “There are a lot of different ways to make records. Too often, the process gets elongated, and I’ve made many records on recent years where no two musicians played in the same room at the same time. Michael and I sat down as producers and decided that we wanted to create a situation that would foster productivity and a modern organic approach to recording,” said Salem. “These are recording sessions, pure, simple and real. For the attendees, they get to see musicians in their creative habitat. The artists get the benefit of simplicity and urgency that comes with live recording. And as producers, we get to craft something really one-of-a-kind. Putting people in a room changes the dynamic, and that yields a tangible result that makes the sessions different from even standard live studio recording and certainly different from concert recordings.”

On April 22 we’ll finally hear the fruits of the August session. For now we get a sneak peek. Listen to the track “Jade,” which was premiered on Speakeasy: