The trio of MMW themselves have matured a great deal since I last saw them – Chris Wood’s stage presence has become more active and brighter, replete with impromptu James Brown footwork. Billy Martin is still the groove machine he always was, with an ear for the right percussive touch at the right moment. Instead of constantly subverting the groove as in years past, the balance was far better – tunes were separated by interludes of brilliant open improv and colour. It was a treat to hear Scofield in this freer setting, rarely documented in the past.
Last time I saw Sco, with the Uberjam band, he was in the teething stage of incorporating additional pedals and effects in his rig. He has since learned the tricks of his pedals and how to use them effectively. Most tunes in the set were pulled from Out Louder. Late in the set, though, Scofield started the signature strumming pattern of “Chank,” from A Go Go. This was a far dirtier and funkier version, with everybody digging in for a more aggressive rhythmic feel. Sco kicked in an envelope filter, further colouring his sound, and Medeski’s
(An abridged version of this review appears at Panpot. Tickets provided by FIJM.)