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Album Review

Uninvisible is further than ever from conventional jazz organ. While blues and funk influences are evident throughout the album, they float on a sea of shadows. Sound sources are obscure or exotic; on "Pappy Check" innovative scratching by turntablist DJ Olive creates an impression of African percussion more than club atmospherics. Even where the instrumentation is less ambiguous, the trio steers toward a filmic noir sensibility, with Medeski leading the way in unorthodox techniques. His pitch-bend solo on "Take Me Nowhere" suggests the creak of a rusty hinge, with Wood's acoustic bass providing the anchor for his abstractions. Wood is in fact often mixed higher than Medeski, to the effect of reducing the keyboard parts to a sideline role and the album in turn to an exercise in mood more than virtuosity — an impression enhanced by a similarly eccentric shrinkage of the power guitar part on "The Edge of Night" to a barely audible background element. The rhythm is steady and stealthy, a slow-motion oscillation between live and looped tracks, most often with a hip-hop sensibility. More important, every musician on each cut plays with a belief that overplaying only subverts the goals of collective improvisation. If any one album can be said to pick up on the surreal funk explorations of latter-day Miles Davis, Uninvisible is it. ~ Robert L. Doerschuk, Rovi


Formed: 1992

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

A group that effortlessly straddles the gap between avant-garde improvisation and accessible groove-based jazz, Medeski, Martin & Wood have simultaneously earned standing as relentlessly innovative musicians and as an enormously popular act. Emerging out of the New York downtown scene in the early '90s, MMW soon set out on endless cross-country tours before returning home to Manhattan to further refine their sound through myriad influential experimentations. Each of the musicians -- keyboardist John...
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Uninvisible, Medeski, Martin & Wood
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