John Medeski’s Mad Skillet Cooks at Buffalo Iron Works

John Medeski brought his latest project, a quartet with Will Bernard on guitar, Kirk Joseph on sousaphone and Terence Higgins on drums, to the Buffalo Iron Works on Sunday night. Collectively known as Mad Skillet, the seasoned veterans brought fresh sounds from a wide expanse of influences, mixing in styles from the South, East and West.

Touring behind their just-released album, they stretched those tracks and some additional material into two super-grooving hour-plus long sets. Joseph held down the low end with honking sousaphone blasts that twisted and exploded with electronic distortions. Bernard shredded a hollow body guitar with jazzy chops, funky cuts and bluesy slide-laden swirls. Medeski threw in everything but the kitchen sink: massive swells and chunks of B3 organ, heady splashes of Mellotron and a bit of spice from the Wurlitzer. Higgins beat it all together to a perfect blend.

They weren’t shy in slathering on some jam either. They moved in, out and through grooves with ease. Each player headed up the kitchen while the others played the sous chef. The baton was passed around the room until the dish was ready and all the flavors came together for a glorious four-pronged meal of sound. Regardless of the on-stage dynamic, playing as one, two, three or the full band, each individual flavor came through loud and clear; nothing was lost in the mix. Each individual musician sounded exactly like themselves, and the end result was no more surprising. As good as you would come to expect.

Mm mm good.

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