John Medeski

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John Medeski
John Medeski.jpg
John Medeski performing with Medeski Martin Scofield & Wood in 2007
Background information
Birth name Anthony John Medeski
Born (1965-06-28) June 28, 1965 (age 48)
Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Genres Jazz, funk
Occupations Musician, composer
Instruments Keyboards, piano
Associated acts Medeski Martin & Wood, The Word
Website www.mmw.net

Anthony John Medeski (born June 28, 1965) is an American jazz keyboards player and composer. Medeski is a veteran of New York's 1990s avant-garde jazz scene and is known popularly as a member of Medeski Martin & Wood.[1] He plays the acoustic piano and an eclectic array of keyboards, including the Hammond B3 organ, melodica, mellotron, clavinet, ARP String Ensemble, Wurlitzer electric piano, Moog Voyager Synthesizer, Wurlitzer 7300 Combo Organ, Vox Continental Baroque organ, and Yamaha CS-1 Synthesizer (a "kids' toy"), among others. When playing acoustic piano, Medeski usually plays the Steinway piano and is listed as a Steinway Artist.[2]

Biography[edit]

Medeski was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and grew up in Florida. After studying piano as a child (starting when he was five years old), he began as a teenager to perform with musicians such as Mark Murphy and Jaco Pastorius. He attended Pine Crest School. In 1983, after graduating high school, he began studying piano at the New England Conservatory in Boston, where he performed as a sideman with Dewey Redman, Billy Higgins, Bob Mintzer, Alan Dawson and Mr. Jellybelly. Medeski attributes his early interest in playing improvised music and jazz to listening to Oscar Peterson.[3]

Medeski performs in a range of musical styles, from accessible groove based funk and jazz (such as the MMW albums and A Go Go with John Scofield) to more experimental music (such as John Zorn's Masada and collaborations with David Fiuczynski).

Medeski is best known for his work with Medeski Martin & Wood including drummer and percussionist Billy Martin and bassist Chris Wood. The trio formed in New York in 1991 playing gigs at The Village Gate.[4] Since the mid-1990s they have toured steadily in both national and international funk, jazz, and jam music scenes. The band has collaborated with such musicians as Iggy Pop, Trey Anastasio and John Scofield.

Medeski produced and was featured on the Dirty Dozen Brass Band's 1999 release Buckjump.[5] Also in 1999, he played the organ on two tracks of the Morphine album The Night.

In 2000, Medeski became a member of The Word, a bluesy gospel style project with members Robert Randolph (pedal steel) from Robert Randolph and the Family Band, brothers Luther Dickinson (guitar) and Cody Dickinson (drums), and Chris Chew (bass) of North Mississippi Allstars. The band released a self-titled album in 2001 and toured in 2001 and 2002. The band reunited in 2005 for a performance at the Bonnaroo Music Festival, and they embarked on tour again in late 2007.

Medeski was keyboardist for the Trey Anastasio Band 2001–2002 tour. He has also occasionally performed with Phil Lesh and Friends.

Medeski was a guest on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz radio program on September 27, 2005. During the show he talked at length about his formal training on the piano, his approach to playing music, and some of the musicians that he admires the most. He performed several songs by Thelonious Monk and other composers, as well as the Medeski, Martin & Wood classic "Bubblehouse". The show was released on compact disc on April 4, 2006.

Medeski was also an inaugural member of the Independent Music Awards' judging panel to support independent artists.[6]

On July 14, 2006, John Medeski & The Itch performed their debut gig at the All Good Music Festival in Masontown, West Virginia. The Itch consists of Eric Krasno (guitar) of Soulive and Adam Deitch (drums) with Medeski playing a B3 Organ. Also in 2006, Medeski performed with The Million Dollar Bashers for the recording of the soundtrack to the Bob Dylan biopic, I'm Not There.

Medeski is featured on guitarist Will Bernard's Blue Plate Special CD released September 2008.

Discography[edit]

Solo

With Medeski Martin & Wood

With Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood

With David Fiuczynski

  • Lunar Crush (Gramavision, 1994)

With Marian McPartland

  • John Medeski: Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz (Concord, 2006)

As sideman[edit]

With Cibo Matto

With Béla Fleck and the Flecktones

With Billy Martin

  • Mago (Amulet, 2007)

With Robert Randolph

  • The Word (Ropeadope, 2001)[8]

With Marc Ribot

With Roswell Rudd

  • Trombone for Lovers (Sunnyside, 2014)

With John Scofield

With Spectrum Road (Tony Williams tribute project with Cindy Blackman, Vernon Reid and Jack Bruce)

  • Spectrum Road (Palmetto, 2012)

With Surrender to the Air

With John Zorn

References[edit]

  1. ^ John Medeski Biography Joslyn Layne, AllMusic, retrieved November 23, 2008
  2. ^ "Steinway Artists M". Steinway & Sons. 2009. Retrieved 10 February 2010. 
  3. ^ Dr. Oscar Peterson, 1925-2007 Ernie Rideout, Keyboard Magazine, March 2008, retrieved November 23, 2008
  4. ^ A Fireside Chat with John Medeski Fred Jung, All About Jazz, February 21, 2004, retrieved November 23, 2008
  5. ^ Music for Its Own Sake: An Interview with John Medeski Krista Cameli, jambands.com, May 1999, retrieved November 23, 2008
  6. ^ Independent Music Awards - Past Judges
  7. ^ "Medeski Martin & Wood Announce New Album – 'Free Magic'". The Jazz Line. Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  8. ^ ropeadope.com

External links[edit]