Medeski, Martin and Wood is not your typical organ jazz trio, since it is more likely to attract younger, more rock-oriented fans instead of more traditional jazz aficianados who pledge allegiance to the likes of Jimmy Smith, John Patton, and Joey DeFrancesco.
That was immediately apparent by the fairly large, ecstatic crowd that was standing and/or boogieing in the aisles of the Center for the Arts from the moment John Medeski came on stage and gave one of his synthesizer keyboards an open-handed smack.
The battery of keyboards surrounding Medeski was truly impressive. In addition to what appeared to be a heavily modified electronic organ, there were synthesizers galore, an electric piano, and a grand piano bracketing the musician. Billy Martin was similarly rimmed in by his drum kit and a veritable plethora of percussive implements, all of which he used with alacrity and good taste.
Bassist Chris Wood wasn't left out when it came to displaying an array of technical aids since there was a bank of foot pedals and triggers that enabled him to manipulate the sound of his electric bass. Wood's acoustic stand-up bass was miked but seemed otherwise electronically untouched.
While Medeski seemed to be the primary focus of audience adulation -- bouncing from one keyboard to another as he guided a maelstrom of sounds from his instruments -- both Martin and Wood got their own solo spotlights. Martin was particularly compelling, displaying his comprehensive grasp of percussive coloration by playing with the beat and transferring it from cymbal to glockenspiel, to tambourine, and to what sounded like a mini-gamelan orchestra.
The youthful aficionados seemed to know every key phrase. Judging from the amount of Medeski, Martin, and Wood shirts, hats, and other paraphernalia in evidence, it would appear the group's fans are every bit as excited about showcasing their devotion outside the concert hall as well.
Medeski, Martin and Wood
Wednesday evening, SUNY Buffalo Center for the Arts.