What Medeski, Martin & Wood does may not seem all that radical now, but when the band started making waves two decades ago, it was charting some funky new territory. By mixing dead-sure jazz instincts with a generous feel for funk and a knack for tapping into “jam band” culture, the trio made jazz fresh and compelling for a new generation of listeners.
Keyboardist John Medeski, bassist Chris Wood and drummer Billy Martin — each a virtuoso player fluent in multiple idioms — have since gone on to participate in myriad projects, but there’s still a special thrill when the three get together. They’re doing it acoustic-style this week, with shows at 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at Great American Music Hall. Tickets are $35.
Also worth noting next week on the Bay Area jazz scene:
- Inventive vocalist Rene Marie covers a wide swath of music, from Motown to “America the Beautiful,” with her Experiment in Truth Quartet, 8 p.m. Tuesday at Yoshi’s San Francisco. $20
The Paris Combo mixes jazz, Django, chanson and more, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Bankhead Theater in Livermore ($34-$54) and 8 p.m. Friday at the Palace of Fine Arts ($25-$50).
- Iconic pianist Chick Corea taps into a whirlwind of youthful energy with his new quintet, Vigil, performing 8 and 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 6 and 8 p.m. Sunday at Yoshi’s Oakland. $49-$65
Drummer/keyboardist/whatall Joe Bagale teams up with vocalist Crystal Monee Hall and other Jazz Mafia cohorts to do his own freaky thang, 9 p.m. Thursday at Great American Music Hall. $14-$16
- Pianist Brad Mehldau, one of the most distinctive and compelling jazz voices in a couple of generations and a gateway drug for many a modern jazz novice, checks into the SFJAZZ Center for a long weekend of performances. Thursday night is a solo show; Friday a duet with fellow pianist Kevin Hays; Saturday a duet with drummer Mark Guiliana and Sunday an outing with his impeccable and relentless trio. All shows start at 7:30, and tickets are $30 to $60.
Top Bay Area performers interpret “Ask Your Mama,” iconic writer Langston Hughes’ extended poem/jazz suite, 8 p.m. Friday at La Pena Cultural Center in Berkeley. $20-$25
- Singer/pianist Carol Welsman, a performer with style and energy like nobody’s business (and more than a passing resemblance to fellow Cannuck Diana Krall), charms her way with standards and more, 8 p.m. Saturday at Berkeley’s Jazzschool. $18-$20
Stephanie Crawford, a powerful singer as at ease with Brazilian tunes as standards, performs with her trio, 8 p.m. Friday at Piedmont Piano Company in Oakland. $15
- Four top Bay area pianists — Stephanie Ozer, Marcos Silva, Anne Sajdera and Fred Weed — explore a broad range of Brazilian styles, 8 p.m. Saturday at Piedmont Piano Company in Oakland. $15
Martin Taylor and Mimi Fox, two of the most gifted and agile guitarists to dance around the jazz canon, pluck up a storm, 8 p.m. Sunday at Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley. $26.50-$28.50
- Pianist Phil Markowitz and violinist Zach Brock, backed by a top-notch rhythm section, explore new directions in jazz, 4:30 p.m. Sunday at Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society near Half Moon Bay. $35
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