The album will feature the trio on five tracks, anchored by bassist Chris Wood, along with keyboardist John Medeski and drummer Billy Martin, in a highly improvised setting.
“There’s a rhythmic and sonic connection that we have,” Martin shares. “Listening is the most important thing for us. We’re having a conversation when we’re playing. The dynamic range is much greater in the acoustic setting. When we play electric, everything is turned up to 11 and it’s screaming. But with John on piano and Chris on upright, we can play with a much more nuanced touch. It’s a very different world, but I love it.”
Free Magic kicks off with “Doppler”, a song the band included in their previous album, 20, released last year in celebration of the band’s 20th anniversary together. The album’s title track is a wildly improvised one, with Wood’s bowed harmonics along with metal percussion and piano.
A live performance of “Where’s Sly”, a tune from MMW’s 1993 album It’s a Jungle in Here, takes on new life as a 16-minute piece with plenty of new twists.
The album closes with a medley of Charles Mingus’ “Nostalgia in Times Square” and Sun Ra’s “Angel Race”, where Wood really gets to stretch out and pay tribute to his hero, Mingus.
“This stuff brings it back to when we used to hang out in this rented shack in Hawaii and make music together,” Martin added. “It was really just a little plywood cabin in the jungle with a tin roof. John had a prepared piano there that sounded like a gamelan instrument and I had these funky drums that had mold growing on them, or I might play the side of the shack or play the railing going up the stairs and make it sound like a xylophone. And we’d get into a lot of different stuff there, just having musical conversations in this intimate setting.”
Free Magic is available for pre-order, and will release on September 25, 2012.
MMW has expanded their tour, offering new dates through the end of 2012 and into 2013.
Medeski Martin & Wood 2012/2013 Tour Dates:
- October 3, 2012: Fall River, MA at Narrows Center for the Arts
- October 4, 2012: Glenside, PA at Keswick Theatre
- October 5, 2012: Boston, MA at Jordan Hall
- October 6, 2012: Albany, NY at Massry Center for the Arts
- October 7, 2012: Bethel, NY at The Museum at Bethel Woods
- October 8, 2012: Englewood, NJ at Bergen PAC
- October 10, 2012: Ridgefield, CT at Ridgefeld Playhouse
- October 11, 2012: Stroudsburg, PA at Sherman Theater
- October 12, 2012: Huntington, NY at The Paramount
- October 13, 2012: Washington, DC at Kennedy Center
- October 14, 2012: Annapolis, MD at Rams Head On Stage
- December 7, 2012: Denver, CO at Ogden Theatre*
- December 8, 2012: Boulder, CO at Boulder Theater*
- January 6, 2013: Ft. Lauderdale, FL at Revolution Live
- January 7, 2013: Ft. Lauderdale, FL at Jam Cruise*
- April 20, 2013: Davis, CA at Mondavi Center – Jackson Hall
- April 26, 2013: Los Angeles, CA at Royce Hall – UCLA
* MSMW shows
Free Magic Track List:
- Blues For Another Day
- Free Magic/Ballade In C Minor, ‘Vergessene Seelen’
- Where’s Sly?
- Nostalgia In Times Square/Angel Race