John Medeski | Pick-Staiger Hall, Northwestern University Campus | Jazz | Chicago Reader

John Medeski Recommended Soundboard

When: Thu., Nov. 29, 7:30 p.m. 2012

Keyboardist John Medeski earned his stripes long ago with Medeski Martin & Wood, a paradigm-setting hybrid of jam band and organ trio, but he's even more versatile than that trio's wide-ranging, groove-driven music would suggest—he's also a top-flight jazz improviser, whether playing retro-fusion in Spectrum Road or hard-hitting postbop with saxophonist James Carter. Medeski's forthcoming solo piano album, A Different Time (due in the spring from OKeh), reveals yet another side of him, and it's one I've never heard before. The record is dominated by refined and lyrical through-composed pieces that evoke Chopin and Satie more than they do Richard "Groove" Holmes or Jack McDuff. I hear traces of Ran Blake and Paul Bley in his patient, thoughtful, spacious style, but the music has little in common with jazz aside from a bit of stimulating harmonic ambiguity. Nonetheless his tender, kaleidoscopic performances are as engrossing as anything he plays in MMW. Medeski plays solo tonight, and he'll preview tunes from the new record. —Peter Margasak

Price: $10-$18

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