2007 Best Music Poll Winners


Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood

This impromptu jazz supergroup was the no-brainer of the year: jam-jazz festival stars Medeski Martin & Wood reuniting with guitar sage John Scofield for the first time since their 1998 collaboration A Go Go (Blue Note). The only question was, why did it take them so long? Their Out Louder, the first release on MM&W’s Indirecto label, came out in September, and going back to it now, what impresses is how good it still sounds and how funny it is. And I mean that in a good way. Scofield’s wit has long been of a piece with his fleet-fingered attack, and MM&W are hardly flat-footed straight men. So the elided and displaced beats of funk are manna for these guys, conventions to play with and celebrate. The simple blues groove of the opener “Little Walter Rides Again” slides into a Scofield solo where the notes hang back, curl up and down around a single pitch. “Tootie Ma Is a Big Fine Thing” digs into a New Orleans second-line beat, “Legalize It” is smooth-flowing take on the Peter Tosh anthem. “Miles Behind” harks back to Scofield’s Davis days with its annunciatory unison two-chord blasts and speed-freak tempo. The frenzy and humor make Scofield’s beautiful legato line on John Lennon’s “Julia” all the sweeter. A tour that brought the band to Berklee sealed the deal for a Best Music Poll win.

— Jon Garelick


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