MMW Evolve With New Box Set

Over the last year or so Medeski Martin & Wood have been releasing their Radiolarians trilogy of records. The series captured the jazz-funk trio in a creative period in which they would write music, tour behind it and then record (write>tour>record) instead of the more typical cycle of writing, recording and then touring (write>record>tour).

As a result, the new compositions that make up the three albums feel more suitably lived in and explored having been given time to evolve while on the road. That is, what you get here are the extended, sort-of live versions, not the outlines.

The music for the most part eschews the sterotypical ‘funk jazz’ they’ve been in for a more exploratory, hard driven and dissonant jazz sound. It’s also spacious and meandering much in the same way Tonic and Electric Tonic were.

Now that all three records are out, all in a sleek, unifying trade dress, the band is collecting them together in an upcoming box set called, The Radiolarians: The Evolutionary Set comprised of many enticing special features, much in the vein of Radiohead’s ‘Diskbox’ edition of In Rainbows.

Here’s more from the press release:

The box set will include: Radiolarians I, II and III complete with bonus tracks, a 10 track disc of remixed music, a previously unreleased 70 minute live album, a double vinyl LP set consisting of highlights from the three Radiolarians albums, plus a DVD feature film entitled Fly In A Bottle directed by Billy Martin.

Here is a trailer of that film:

Fly In a Bottle – 5 minute trailer from Medeski Martin and Wood on Vimeo.

Glide Magazine documents more about the film:

Tirelessly working through footage of MMW in the studio and on the road, the film provides an extremely intimate portrait of the band. It highlights the trio’s intricate relationships with each other and with the music they have worked to create over their past 19 years as a band. In conjunction with Fly in a Bottle, the DVD will also include the music video for “Amber Gris”, the esoteric Incant to Chantes Des Femmes directed by Grey Gersten, and an experiment with time-lapse film entitled CW. CW (directed again by Martin), is a metaphoric look at the evolving and intricate relationship between Chris Wood and John Medeski from Billy Martin’s perspective. Filmed on the tour bus, CW is set to the music of “First Light” and features excerpts of transistor radio as used in “Chasen v. Suribachi.” The DVD portion of the set provides a fitting closure as fans and critics are given unprecedented access to the band during their everyday lives. It’s raw, highly personal and real.

Sounds neat.

I have yet to receive the box set or see the film (only heard the three albums so far), but hope to in the next few weeks. However, New York Times music writer Nate Chinen recently previewed the package on his blog The Gig.

More soon…

Reblogging: Jazz Now!

My cohorts over at NPR Music’s jazz blog A Blog Supreme have been curating a series of lists of some of the best jazz records from the last decade as a means to introduce new people to jazz. In the process we’re also sort of introducing a new modern canon of classic jazz records.

Now entering it’s second week, my list — which features MMW, Dave Holland, Marc Ribot, Dave Douglas and John Zorn — finally went up. Check it out here.