AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek [-]
Medeski, Martin & Wood are among the busiest acts in the music biz. To celebrate their 20-year anniversary in 2011, the group has been releasing its latest album, 20, track by track. Also this year, following the grand Radiolarians series, they decided to issue its DVD portion, Fly in a Bottle, as a separate package; finally, there's MSMW Live: In Case the World Changes Its Mind, an utterly kinetic recording from their 2006 tour with jazz guitar boss John Scofield. In 1997 the trio backed Sco on his stellar A Go Go album. He returned the favor in 2006 by playing on MMW's Out Louder; this tour followed. The double disc collects performances from both recordings and a couple of others. Fans of MMW or Scofield know what to expect from this quartet on record, but heard in a live setting -- and in particular this one -- the music is actually tighter; it's fiery, with ideas arising from collective energy and almost symbiotically folded into prearranged tunes. On disc one, check Scofield's punky "Deadzy," Chris Wood's groove-laden "Cachaça," or the title track, apparently composed on the spot for the Out Louder sessions and stretched to nearly 13 minutes here. As for disc two, things kick off with Scofield's "Little Walter Rides Again." There is deep interplay between Wood's backbone-slipping bass and Sco's angular stereo guitar. John Medeski's fills and time-stretching solo are taut, but it's the orgy of breaks from Billy Martin that makes it pop. The group also stretches into the abstract on "Hanuman," where improvisation flows freely among the quartet members. The groove is much more subtle and spacy on Sco's "Southern Pacific," with its strolling country expressionism melded to jazz's in-the-moment sense of spontaneity, but it's there in spades. Things close with a virtually screaming "Hottentot," where all the stops get pulled, sending this set off on the deep jazz-funk tip. David Kent's recording is flawless, and Jamie Saft's fine editing and mixing make these tunes -- compiled from numerous dates -- feel like a single show in flow and dynamic. MSMW Live: In Case the World Changes Its Mind isn't merely a document of a historic tour; it's a solid entry in the catalogs of both artists and a killer listen top to bottom.
In Case the World Changes Its Mind
Indirecto Records Recorded on tour in 2006
Disc1 1 A Go Go (John Scofield) 2 Deadzy (Scofield) 8:35 3 What Now 12:49 4 Tootie Ma Is A Big Fine Thing (traditional) 20:29 5 Cachaça (Chris Wood) 29:29 6 In Case The World Changes Its Mind 29:26 7 Miles Behind 52:23
Disc2 1 Little Walter Rides Again (Scofield) 1:1:03 2 Hanuman 1:13:35 3 Amazing Grace (traditional) 1:26:58 4 Southern Pacific (Scofield) 1:35:54 5 Hottentot (Scofield) 1:44:02
John Medeski (og, key) John Scofield (g) Billy Martin (dr, perc) Chris Wood (b)