Medeski, Scofield, Martin and Wood - Out Louder

Indirecto/EmArcy 0602517204393    ****

Martin Medeski (ky), John Scofield (g), Chris Wood (b) and Billy Martin (d). Rec. November and January 2006.
Medeski, Scofield, Martin and Wood - Out Louder
From its opening moments – Billy Martin’s infectiously funky intro to the roogalating ‘Little Walter Rides Again’ – you know you’re in the presence of an album that’s more than a little special. It’s a decade since A Go Go first found the foursome recording together, but that was very much a Scofield project with the groove master trio in a supporting role. Out Louder is an altogether denser four way collaboration, mixing live, largely undubbed jams, with more composed outings and even a blithe cover of The Beatles’ ‘Julia’.

Scofield in particular is inspired to fresh sonic explorations – ‘Down The Tube’ is an elongated jam that starts as a neurotic funker, weaves through a meditative free passage and finally morphs into a nasty little rocker: and all through Sco probes, whines, muses and roars, but always with his ears open to the rainforest rich grooves bubbling around him. In dynamic contrast, ‘Telegraph’ is a dub whirlwind, mixing Gothic church organ with space cowboy effects, while ‘Hanuman’ is a tight rocking groove.

Above it all hovers the spirit of Miles in his super-heated funk mode, most obviously on the vicious attack of ‘Miles Behind’, replete with wah-wah guitar and crunching Rhodes. Equally influential are The Meters, with ‘Tootie Ma Is A Big Fine Thing’ swaying with an irresistible Allen Toussaint vibe. Yet the real pleasure of Out Louder isn’t simply the deep heritage the guys draw on, it is, as with all fine music, how they forge it into something fresh and contemporary. A Go Go may have been a classic of its kind, but Out Louder has moved on to a higher league altogether.

Andy Robson

This review is taken from Jazzwise Issue 107 - to read our complete review  section of jazz and beyond  subscribe here