Record Review: John Medeski and Lee Shaw Live

Together Again: John Medeski and Lee Shaw Live at the Egg
Recorded live at Center for Performing Arts, Albany, NY by Scott Petito and Beth Reineke
Mixed at NRS Recording Studio

Rarely does one have the privilege to peer directly into the lineage which informs the voice of a maestro. Live at the Egg is just such an opportunity. For anyone interested in the modern groove, John Medeski is among the most formidable stalwarts. Together Again pairs the keyboardist with his teacher, Lee Shaw. On a set of eight tunes Medeski and Shaw show off their interplay and compositional prowess. While the free improvisational pieces “Lizards” and “Solo Piano Piece” leave something to be desired, Shaw’s solo pieces are exuberant jazz romps while Medeski’s MMW originals (originally interpreted by Medeski, Martin and Wood) “Where’s Sly?” and “Wiggly’s Way” are worth the price of admission alone. What makes the album work as opposed certain other piano duet albums is the combination of dynamic contrast and tones. When Medeski whips out the melodica or B-3, the listener is in another sonic territory and whatever monotony might have existed is amply dispatched. Fans of Medeski, jazz or piano music are strongly encouraged to check it out.

(By Joe Lang)

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