Medeski, Martin and Wood almost singlehandedly rediscovered and reinvented jazz/rock fusion in the 1990s on the streets of New York City. In a lean, grooving organ-trio format (but with Chris Wood on bass, rather than the conventional guitar), they stripped away the blue blazers and the smooth-patina decadence of the fusion form – the G-spot (Kenny, get it?) – and reconnected fusion to the raw, exploratory, Modernist spirit of Miles Davis’ work in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. How the eras collide!
Medeski is now a bandmate of Jack DeJohnette in the group Hudson (along with a couple of lightweights named Larry Grenadier and John Scofield, two giants of modern jazz). It was Jack who drummed so memorably on all those classic Davis fusion albums, and Sco who made his name on a run of Miles albums in the ‘70s and early ‘80s, and and and…
Meanwhile, MMW drummer Billy Martin has recently assumed directorship of the Creative Music Studios, the avant-garde musical incubator founded in Woodstock long ago by keyboardist/composer/vocalist Karl Berger, vocalist Ingrid Sertso and the late, great saxophonist/composer Ornette Coleman (another archetypal figure essential to what MMW was brewing in the ’90s). Before I continue with this micro-history, can we reflect with gratitude for a moment about how rich the musical scene has become here in the Hudson Valley, and how rich it has always been? Please go to the clubs.
Which clubs? Well, if jazz and fusion are what you dig, then the Falcon, stupid. Tony Falco’s achievement in Marlboro – two full-sized club venues stocked nightly with local, national and international talent of staggering quality; art galleries and a rock ‘n’ roll museum; sprawling, tiered outdoor decks overlooking the spectacular Marlboro Falls – is such an unlikely story that Hollywood would have laughed Tony right out of the pitch room. But there it is, to my continual amazement and delight. Get there. Don’t take it for granted.
Sunday, September 2 would be a good day for. At 5:30 p.m., Billy Martin leads Stridulations for the Good Luck Feast, a percussion game and demonstration taking place on the Falcon’s outdoor stage. Then Billy Martin’s Solo & Percussion Ensemble performs on the Falcon’s main stage at 8 p.m.
There is never a cover charge at the Falcon, bizarre as that sounds, but the culture that Falco has created depends entirely on generous direct-to-artist donation. It works. For more information, visit www.liveatthefalcon.com. The Falcon is located at 1348 Route 9W in Marlboro.