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Four Jazz Names Are More Fun Than One

Medeski Scofield Martin and Wood's latest CD is <em>Out Louder</em>.
Medeski Scofield Martin and Wood's latest CD is Out Louder.

Out Louder by Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood

While your friends are listening to pop's one-name wonders — new CDs by the likes of Diddy and JoJo — try one-upping them. Or make that four-upping them. Medeski, Scofield, Martin and Wood have crafted one of the year's finer (and most fun) jazz records.

The names belong to jazz guitarist John Scofield and the organ-bass-drums trio of Medeski Martin & Wood (John, Billy & Chris, respectively). Regrouping for the first time since 1997's groove-heavy A Go Go, they recapture their classic chemistry with plenty of new twists. Out Louder recalls the gritty swamp soul-jazz of late '60s Blue Note records. But Scofield's nasty angular guitar work, the band's slinky rhythms and Medeski's haunting Hammond B3 and Wurlitzer keyboards push the group into more experimental territory. Jazz novices, do not be afraid. The record never becomes unlistenable. Call it avant garage-jazz, and enjoy it. One standout: a great New Orleans shuffle reinterpretation of Peter Tosh's "Legalize It."

The collective is touring this fall: check out their Web sites and .

Michael Katzif is the keeper of all things podcast at NPR. A guitarist, he frequently plays his own version of garage jazz, or would if he still had a garage.

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Mike Katzif