Percussion Meets Hammond as Two Thirds of Medeski Martin & Wood Take Time to Collaborate
Billy Martin and John Medeski have celebrated their almost twenty-year-long musical relationship by releasing a duets album entitled Mago.
The album, which was produced by Martin and recorded over a span of two days in July, 2006, features Martin on drums and Medeski on Hammond B3 organ. Mago's highlights include expansive free-flowing spontaneous compositions that Martin and Medeski showcase with immense grace and passion; the majority of the tracks are filled with head-nodding booty-shaking grooves that only this duo could have created.
As natural collaborators, Martin and Medeski have recorded, produced and toured with countless musicians of all genres, and vowed to record together as a duo prior to the inception of their highly successful trio Medeski Martin & Wood (MMW). What I remember most about our first duet session was that Medeski would go anywhere musically no matter how unusual or challenging," says Martin. He was right there with me and ready to humbly serve the music we make together."
Billy Martin and John Medeski first heard of each other through mutual friend and mentor Bob Moses. In the mid-80's Martin had been working with Moses in NYC. Moses then moved to Boston to teach at New England Conservatory and ended up working with Medeski as teacher-student-band mates. Once during a Moses gig in Boston, Martin took the drum chair for one song. Medeski noticed the drumming style was something different and afterwards came back stage to meet Martin. Martin invited him to his Brooklyn loft the next time Medeski would be in New York. Not long after that brief encounter Medeski rang. They played duets for a couple hours, going through every and any means of musical communication possible, including vocal chanting. This was primarily an organ/drum set-up, but what followed were many other sessions, which included bassist Chris Wood, and Medeski Martin & Wood was born.
MaAgo is a celebration of Martin and Medeski's first meeting and something they like to do on occasion, but don't get much time to share.