July 4: MMW

Well, as truly screwed up things are here in Eastern Iowa these days, it’s nice to be able to celebrate. Most of Cedar Rapids festivities went under, but I was really happy to see the Iowa City Jazz Fest went on as planned. The old capital area of Iowa City/University of Iowa is on a hill and was unaffected so the three-day fest goes on despite the miles of sandbag walls you see coming in to town, or, worse, if you have to come in through Coralville as we do, the miles of washed out, muck filled, incredibly stinky areas of town. Businesses washed away, no power still, and the odor of mold, mildew and sewage laden water is overpowering. But alas, that’s not what this post was about, right? Right. Last night we went to see Medeski, Martin, and Wood at the Jazz Fest. Incredible show. I’ve been a long-time fan but had not had the opportunity to see them. Yea, it’s got that whole jam-band ambience to it (something I tend to distrust these days as its anything goes attitude seems to make audiences less discriminating about really good music from just jamming), but the fact is these guys are just amazing musicians. I’ve known Medeski is a genius on the keyboards, but by the end of the evening the person that was really amazing me was Chris Wood on bass. He was getting sounds from his instrument that I didn’t even know were possible. Mostly, we sat fairly far back but once in awhile I went up close to fully experience it–hadn’t had that heart-pounding high-volume bass experience in a long time and they delivered some serious power. Good stuff, through and through. I’m not going to miss Bonerama from New Orleans and the great jazz guitarist John Scofield today! Here’s a little clip of MMW you might find interesting:

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