One Track Mind: Medeski Scofield Martin and Wood, “Sham Time” from Juice (2014)

What can be better than a new Medeski, Martin & Wood record? Why, a Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood record, of course!

They’ve only gotten together in the studio to make a disc on two other occasions, for John Scofield’s career-turning A Go-Go (1997) and the formally MSMW release Out Louder (2006). The live twofer MSMW Live: In Case the World Changes Its Mind followed about five years later. Now they’re set to go at it again with their third studio disc Juice, expected out September 16, 2014, from MMW’s Indirecto Records.

MMW+S usually references 60s and 70s soul-jazz without overtly mimicking it, preferring to bare some of their avant-garde leanings. For this advance track, at least, they’re playing it straight, a vintage-style rendition of Eddie Harris’ 1969 number “Sham Time.”

Like the late, great electric saxophonist, the souped-up quartet plays it as a Latin-tinged boogaloo that epitomized soul-jazz of Harris’ time. Harris didn’t play it with guitar and organ that also typified that era, though, and that’s what these guys bring to the tune. With Sco’s jazz-tinged blues licks and Medeski’s funky riffs over Martin and Wood’s bugaloo bounce, you won’t be able to keep completely still while listening to this.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is a CPA and mid-level data analyst for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. Contact him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews.com.