JJ3 – A Tribute to Medeski, Martin & Wood
Featuring Jesse Jennings
Saturday, December 17 / 9:30 pm-12:00 am
Some musicians are wired differently. They are rarely content to color inside the lines. When we think of players who thrive on pushing the boundaries, keyboardist Jesse Jennings (Jambassadors, Nipper Brothers) is at the top of the list. Recently on a morning jog, Medeski Martin & Wood’s seminal album “Shackman” came on his earbuds and he had an epiphany. “No one has ever sat down and said, ‘I’m going to do a night of MMW.’ Because the idea of doing that is terrifying. You can do cover tunes but this is different. You have to have a mastery of improvising on your instrument.”
Jennings got turned on to MMW when he was 21 and playing with a band in North Carolina called Purple School Bus. “I was just blown away,” he recalls. “What they were doing was so fresh. My entire musical existence has been shaped around improv. I think they are the definitive improvisational jam-jazz-dance music. It’s not a word I toss around lightly, but they are all geniuses on their instruments. It’s a phenomenon you don’t find often in music.”
For this unprecedented experiment at the Crazy Horse – a venue Jennings has long considered his favorite place to play – he assembled a trio he feels is more than up to the challenge. Jeff Carter is one of the best drummers in the area. He was awarded a scholarship to the prestigious Berklee School of Music if that says anything. His grasp of the polyrhythmic approach necessary to pull off these deceptively complex beats is as advanced as one could hope.
Holding down the bass is another Berklee grad, simply known as “Dello.” “I met him recently and was floored how good he is on upright bass. I knew he would nail those funky, Chris Wood grooves.” When lightning strikes for Jennings, his creative muse leave him no choice but to seize the moment. “These two guys are so talented. It’s going to be very deep; very authentic. This stuff is way harder to play than you’d think. I can’t wait to see where we take it.”