Billy Martin/Wil Blades: Shimmy

Album review
Billy Martin/Wil Blades: Shimmy

Billy Martin/Wil Blades


Label: The Royal Potato Family
Media: CD
Genre: Jazz

One of the joys of any Medeski Martin & Wood concert is hearing drummer Billy Martin lay down one of his signature funk grooves while his bandmates John Medeski and Chris Wood jump in with syncopated glee. Martin conjures up that infectious, in-the-pocket energy on this goodfoot outing with Bay Area Hammond B-3 wizard Wil Blades. The collection ranges from retro boogaloos like Blades’ “Brother Bru” and “Les and Eddie” to slow-grooving numbers like “Deep in a Fried Pickle” and “Little Shimmy.” There’s a cool cover of Eddie Harris’ “Mean Greens” and a swinging take on the spiritual “Down By The Riverside” (famously covered by organ great Jimmy Smith on his 1966 Verve LP with Wes Montgomery, The Dynamic Duo). On “Pick Pocket” and “Toe Thumb,” Blades augments his thick B-3 chords with audacious wah-wah and distortion- laced clavinet lines, and the spacious, Hendrixy “Give” has Martin playing colorist on his kit while Blades explores the effect of reverb on clavinet textures and timbres. The kinetic party-time grooves of this unrelenting funk-fueled session are greatly enhanced by the duo’s superb improvisation skills, making them several cuts above your average jam band. 

More Info

  • primary artist, Billy Martin
  • primary artist, Wil Blades

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