Medeski, Martin and Wood
The ultimate crossover artists, Medeski, Martin and Wood bridge the gap between the New York downtown jazz scene, which features the avant-garde guru John Zorn, and the New England jam-band touring circuit, led by the popular improv-rock group Phish. And it's not hard to figure out why. Their brand of organ-trio Jazz-Funk has something in it for just about everybody. They manage to create a wide range of sounds with minimal instrumentation: chunky, Meters-esque riff-based funk; angular, Thelonious Monk-influenced jazz; sizzling Jimmy Smith-inspired organ jams; spaced-out Free Jazz musings; a dash of Acid Jazz ambience. Bassist Chris Wood and drummer Billy Martin consistently strike loose-limbed, flexible grooves, while organist John Medeski comes up with catchy riff after catchy riff, holding the particularly juicy chords for effect. Though they sometimes display their impressive chops, they're primarily groove-based improvisers, focusing on crafting a swirling, group-oriented sound.