In the summer of 2002, when I was 17, I went to see Medeski Martin & Wood two nights in a row at Tonic. The shows were almost entirely improvised; they played just a handful of composed tunes each night. And that concept, that you could just climb onstage and pull an entire evening of sound from thin air, completely changed my life. Before those shows, I didn’t know that was possible. MMW were already one of my favorite bands, but now they had given me more than just incredible music; they had turned my whole world around. A new pathway was open.
Fast-forward about fifteen years. I’m a “real” musician. My band, Middle Blue, throws down a sort of avant-garde funk. MMW is deep in the DNA of the music. And I also play freely improvised music, with musicians including the legendary horn man Daniel Carter. Inspiration hits, and I start thinking about a session featuring myself, Billy, and Daniel. I also realize that Billy and Daniel have recorded together before; they’re on a track off DJ Logic’s 1999 album Project Logic. Yeah, you heard me: The very first album on Ropeadope. That’s some deep Ropeadope history right there.
So here we are, full circle in a couple of ways. This is my first album of free-improv, a genre I learned about from MMW. And Billy and Daniel are back together on Ropeadope, just in time for the label’s twentieth anniversary. Big thanks to the universe. Thanks for letting me be a part of it all.
Oh, one more thing: This is the very first time we played together. The first jam of the day. And I didn’t change a note. - Bradley Stuart Farberman