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Medeski  Martin & Wood - Mago CD (album) cover

MAGO

Medeski Martin & Wood

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.09 | 3 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
3 stars This '07 collaboration between the drum and keyboard corners of the Medeski Martin & Wood triangle is selfish in the best sense of the word, featuring two superlative artists indulging themselves in a tribute to their earliest playing days together, before the arrival of bassist Chris Wood.

Astute Progheads will recognize an echo in the album's title and cover art of the 1971 Can LP "Tago Mago", a nod perhaps to kindred spirits who performed on a similar level of telepathic spontaneity, but in a very different musical culture (early '70s Krautrock). You can also make obvious comparisons to the likewise exploratory Moraz-Bruford keyboard and drum duets from the mid-1980s.

But the Martin-Medeski team is better synchronized than the ex-Yes bandmates, and more daring in their fusions of mismatched influences: straight jazz, bent gospel, grindhouse funk, hip-hop, space-rock, and the occasional Third World ethnological forgery (another link to classic Can). The album opener "Introducing Mago", and its aptly named bookend "L'Aventura", are epileptic free-form jazz improvisations designed to agitate your inner beatnik. But in "Crustaceatron" and elsewhere the groove reverts back to that trademark ultra-cool (and often ultra-spacey) MMV trip-hop vibe.

The bass-lines were presumably generated by John Medeski's Hammond B-3 foot pedals. But the lack of a genuine low end in the mix makes listening to the album like studying the fossil ancestor of some fabulous beast. Remove the muscular sinews of a dedicated bass guitarist, and this is what's left: a fascinating skeletal structure held together by taut but invisible ligaments.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |

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