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Medeski Martin & Wood (or MMW) is a US jazz trio originally formed in 1991, consisting of John Medeski on keyboards, Billy Martin on drums and percussion, and Chris Wood on double bass and bass guitar.
The band members were introduced to each other by jazz drummer Bob Moses, who had performed with both John Medeski and Chris Wood, and was Billy Martin's instructor. Medeski Martin & Wood's first performances together were at the Village Gate, a popular New York jazz club. They were initially an acoustic jazz trio, but Medeski quickly added a Hammond organ when the difficulties of touring with a piano became apparent. Their first album, Notes from the Underground, is a record of their entirely-acoustic era. All of their subsequest albums reveal Medeski's usage of a wide variety of keyboards, including a mellotron, a melodica, and a clavinet, among others. Chris Wood entirely eschewed the electric bass for MMW's first three albums, and still relies heavily on the acoustic upright bass in recordings and during live performances. Their earlier albums reveal a soul jazz oriented direction, which is the primary theme of their well-known 1996 album, Shack-man. MMW's "Blue Note Years", which spanned the years 1998-2005, showed them delving deeper into dense, electronic funk than their earlier albums, although the band continued to experiment with free jazz both on their albums and in concert.
Medeski Martin & Wood's live performances are renowned for their exploratory nature. Their concerts usually involve extended improvisations, which may be both arrhythmic and atonal, an aspect of their musicianship that is rarely documented in the studio. They also embark on an occasional acoustic tour, reverting back to the instrumentation that they began with. Their album Tonic is an example of these more contemporary acoustic performances. They have also done short tours of entirely improvisatory performances, a feat which few musicians would undertake. These shows usually consisted of two sets of improvisation, followed by an encore of a song from an album.
The band received some of their first significant exposure outside of the New York City jazz scene by performing with Phish at their October 14, 1995 concert, which led to the association of the group as a jam band.
In addition, their performance on John Scofield's 1997 album A Go Go helped to further their exposure. The band collaborated further with Scofield again in 2006, releasing the album Out Louder under the name Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood. This was the first album released on MMW's own Indirecto Records.
Their song "End of the World Party" was featured on the hit show Grey's Anatomy and their song can be found on the show's soundtrack.
John Medeski and Billy Martin also have a side project named Mago. They performed at the 2007 Bonnaroo Music Festival.
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