Rotation: Out Louder
On Out Louder, jazz guitar legend John Scofield has once again teamed up with groove masters John Medeski, Billy Martin and Chris Wood to create magic. Not since the 1998 masterpiece A Go Go has the quartet recorded together. Unlike A Go Go, however, where MMW served as a backup band, Out Louder comes off as more of a collaborative effort. The first release on MMW's own Indirecto label, Out Louder contains everything from traditional New Orleans jazz on "Tootie Ma is a Big Fine Thing" to pure fusion on "Miles Behind" (an obvious allusion to Scofield's previous boss Miles Davis). Also included on the CD are instrumental versions of The Beatles' "Julia" and Peter Tosh's "Legalize It."
On both A Go Go and Out Louder, Scofield's guitar work seems to tame MMW's sound, which can often be a little too abrasive and avant-garde for the average listener. The 12 tracks on the disc are tightly constructed and generally clock in at between three and four minutes in length (quite concise for these musicians usually known for their freeform improvisations). Overall, a very enjoyable release that one needs not be a jazz aficionado to appreciate. Hopefully it will not take another eight years for a third release. — James Bolen