Medeski Martin and Wood

review = A

Unlike -Combustication-, last yearís high flying, high tech, electro-jazz studio album, -Tonic- brings Medeski Martin and Wood back to the basics. Recorded live in New York City during a two week run at the club whoís name was taken as the albumís title, this is an all acoustic homage to the stripped down musical essence of the jam nationís jazziest trio. No funk or fusion here. And you can forget about all the looped and sampled electronica razzle dazzle. Just lean and oh-so-edgy bohemian hip-bop with a smattering of swing and lots of free space on this record. Stunning dynamics too. Split evenly between orginals and covers, MMW explore a wide range of emotions with nothing but a bass, piano and drum kit, as they improvise their way through -Tonicís- eight tracks. Stunning renditions of Lee Morganís "Afrique," with its stylistic tension - a juxtaposition of angular polyrhythms drifting in and out of a recurring cool school swing, and Coltraneís moody and quietly melodic "Your Lady," prove that MMW are masters of texture and tone, as well as groove. And then thereís the orginals. Tribal percussion, avant garde keyboards and a melodic stand up bass are just a few ingredients in their new millennium musical cocktail. Aptly named, -Tonic- is an exhilarating listening experience.