Review by Lauren Byrnes
There are musicians that people see clearly pour their heart and soul into a performance. John Medeski did just that on December 7th at The Massry Center at The College of Saint Rose. His just over two hour set was mesmerizing and made you forget you were in a recital hall; it seemed far more like a small jazz club instead. Medeski himself could barely be contained in his playing, frequently standing up and tapping both his feet along with what he was playing. Seeing a musician have that much fun playing for an audience is intoxicating.
The music itself is not your typical, run of the mill jazz either. Instead, his early training in the classics bleeds through as he moves through classically swung eights and transitions cleanly into a haunting straight melody. Ever the modernist, the sweetness of the melodies never lasted long; it usually fell into discordant breaks while he plucked from within the Steinway to add to his, and its, already stunning sound. The evening opened with ‘Where’s Sly?’ blended with ‘Otis’ and had plenty of improvisation for all. With those two songs alone, Medeski played for nearly 45 minutes straight with only a handful of breaks through the entire two hours.
It was an amazing, intimate evening with a skilled musician and performer. Those who were there received a real treat.