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Medeski Martin and Wood Prove Their Hip Quotient at CMJ

November 1, 2006 6:01 PM ET

Say what you will about jam bands, you gotta give Medeski Martin and Wood props. What other group can get a room full of people to dance to freakin' keyboard jazz? MMW did just that when the costumed threesome returned to New York's Hammerstein Ballroom for their annual Halloween bash, one of the best gigs they play all year.

The band warmed things up with some ambient dub explorations before kicking into high gear with tunes that showed off drummer Billy Martin's ass-shaking grooves and John Medeski's maniacal organ and clavinet attacks. The group's special guest, guitarist Dave Tronzo, breathed new life into the jazz-funk staples they've been playing live forever.

Tronzo and Medeski thrilled the audience on fan favorites like the gospel-style rave up "Think" and "Is There Anybody Here That Loves My Jesus?" Everyone cheered when someone tossed out a huge handful of raver glowsticks, and when jams got a bit too noodly, revelers dressed as Borat, and the Super Mario Brothers offered a welcome diversion. We can't wait til next year.

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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