So last week I helped put you to sleep with Indie Lullabies, so we’re all well rested and ready to seize the day right? What better way is there to spend a day than to go for a trip but where should we go? Medeski Martin & Wood (MMW) doesn’t think we should limit ourselves and I think they’re right, Let’s Go Everywhere!
MMW is probably best known as a Jazz organ trio that plays mainly instrumentals with deep grooves and more than a little Funk. Having been a fan of theirs since almost the beginning I can’t say that I’m surprised they finally made a record for kids. Their sound has always been playful and drummer Billy Martin has an almost childlike ability to hit things with sticks to make music.
After a brief intro to make sure we’ve rubbed the eye boogers away the band starts their journey. While Johnny Cash tells us that he’s BEEN everywhere…Boston, Charleston, Dayton, Lousiana…MMW goes beyond that to add more exotic locales such as Bombay, Taipei, Mandalay, Bora Bora, Deauville, Louisville and even Whoville. When They Might Be Giants did ‘The Alphabet of Nations’ a few years ago we had our kids label all the countries on a map of the World but they had a hard time finding West Xylophone…this tune is really going to mess with their heads. What it lacks in accurate geography it more than makes up for with imagination: Brigadoon, Xanadu, Cloud City (very popular in our house.) You’ll be surprised how quickly your kids start using places like Stockholm and Yokohama in everyday conversation.
One of my favorite things about this record is that while it has a few playful lyrics a lot of the music would fit right in on a ‘regular’ MMW album. ‘Cat Creeps’ is the perfect soundtrack for that cat stalking prey in the backyard and ‘Where’s the Music’ almost makes you forget this is so-called kids music at all; that is until the groove comes to a halt prompting some kids to ask, ‘where’s the music?!?!’ When they collectively yell, ‘again!’ at the end be prepared to do just that. Unlike most times they ask this though you won’t mind and you might even beat them to it.
I’ve long been an advocate of playing the music straight for my kids. There’s no reason they can’t enjoy John Coltrane’s version of ‘My Favorite Things’ just as much as something specifically geared towards them. I once saw a young boy dancing like a lunatic to a live performance by Dewey Redman playing his musette in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. When Dewey noticed he sauntered over to the edge of the stage, sat down and played just for that boy. Needless to say it was an image that stuck with me….I’d love to see what that kid is listening to these days.
When (if) your kids ever get tired of hearing Let’s Go Everywhere you can easily play them any of MMW’s other albums like Friday Afternoon in the Universe or It’s a Jungle in Here because songs like ‘Chubb Sub’ and ‘Wiggly’s Way’ have the same spirit.
For more information or to purchase Let’s Go Everywhere or other MMW music please visit the links below: