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Medeski, Martin & Wood Bassist Enjoys Doing Double Duty

Of the Oakland Press

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Medeski, Martin & Wood fans will see quite a bit of bassist Chris Wood when the trio plays tonight at the MotorCity Casino Hotel’s Sound Board.

Not only is Wood playing with the modern jazz group, but he’ll also open the show with the Wood Brothers, the Americana-styled duo he started five years ago with his brother Oliver.

“It makes for a long and diverse and eclectic evening — but very enjoyable most of the time,” Wood, 39, says with a laugh. “The music’s so different that everything just kind of seems new and exciting, going from one to the other. After playing a set with the Wood Brothers, it makes it that much more fun to play with a drummer, and vice versa.”

Wood and his partners — keyboardist John Medeski and drummer Billy Martin — have plenty of music to play these days, too. The trio is in the midst of releasing its three-volume “Radiolarians” series, a set of albums for which the songs were written, then road-tested, then recorded. The first two volumes are already out, with a third coming on Aug. 4 and a box set featuring additional music due in the fall.

“We’ve talked about doing this kind of thing before,” Wood explains. “Before our lives got busy and complicated, we used to hang out and write music all the time, and there’s a whole certain rhythm to the creative process when you could do that.

“It was ambitious and took a lot of work, but it was really good for us creatively. To do it three times within one year, we really were able to work on a lot of new things and develop some new ideas. I feel like it kind of rejuvenated us in some ways.”

Medeski, Martin & Wood and the Wood Brothers perform at 8 Friday (May 22) at Sound Board in the MotorCity Casino Hotel, 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $40 and $35. Call (313) 237-7711 or visit www.motorcitycasino.com.

Web Site: www.motorcitycasino.com

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