Medeski, Martin, and Wood Come to Higher Ground

A group that effortlessly straddles the gap between avant-garde improvisation and accessible groove-based jazz, Medeski, Martin, & Wood have simultaneously earned standings as relentlessly innovative musicians and an enormously popular act. Emerging out of the New York downtown scene in the early ’90s, the group soon set out on endless cross-country tours, before returning home to Manhattan to further refine their sound through myriad influential experimentations. Each of the musicians – keyboardist John Medeski, drummer/percussionist Billy Martin, and bassist Chris Wood – crossed paths throughout the ’80s, playing with the likes of John Lurie, John Zorn, and Martin mentor Bob Moses. In 1991, the trio officially convened for an engagement at New York’s Village Gate. Soon, the group was rehearsing in Martin’s loft, writing, and soon recording 1992’s self-released “Notes From the Underground.” As the group began to tour, escaping the supportive, though insular, New York music community, Medeski – a former child prodigy – switched to a Hammond B-3 organ, an instrument far easier to travel with than a grand piano. The band’s reputation has achieved massive proportions. As they always have, the three core bandmembers contributed to numerous other recording projects, both as sidemen and leaders. Increasingly, their word was gold and their efforts carved paths for musicians to follow. Following their rise, for example, was a renaissance in B-3-based organ trios. Many groups had played with DJs before them, but their performances with Logic made it downright fashionable. Though they were – and are – considered “alternative” jazz, they are drawing larger audiences than many of their mainstream counterparts. Higher Ground is pleased to welcome Medeski, Martin & Wood for this specail performance.