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JJ3: A Tribute to Medeski, Martin & Wood

Friday, August 30 / 9:30 pm-12:30 am

/ $15

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 is at the top of the list. A couple of years ago 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.”

Jennings unveiled the unprecedented experiment he coined JJ3 at the Crazy Horse back in December of ‘22 to a surprisingly warm reception.  He has long considered the venue his favorite place to play, so it made sense that this would be the comfort zone where he’d soar without a net.  Bringing some serious swagger to the bass on that occasion was the man simply known as Dellow (Caltucky, Moody Cat). Jennings recalls, “When I met him, I was floored by how good he is on upright bass. I knew he would nail those funky, Chris Wood grooves.” The Berklee School of Music grad has a multi-dimensional understanding of improvisation and composition which enables him to breathe warmth into every note.

Returning on drums is Jeff Carter (Moxie Barker) – one of the most elite players in the region on his instrument. Since being awarded a scholarship to the prestigious Berklee School of Music, the young savant has pushed every project he’s been involved with to the limits and beyond. His grasp of the polyrhythmic approach necessary to pull off these deceptively complex, Billy Martin beats is akin to blending astrophysics with shaman sorcery.

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.”


Friday, August 30
9:30 pm-12:30 am