Let's Go Everywhere
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Let's Go Everywhere is the kind of record that kids-music insiders get all wound up about, and for a reason that can be summed up in two tidy little words: it's awesome. Yes, when classifications must be made, Medeski Martin & Wood are sometimes thrown into the jazz genre. And yes, as musicians go, they're a pretty sophisticated outfit. But that hasn't prevented them from maintaining a direct line with their pirate- and pat-a-cake-loving sides. Everywhere rules because it's un-self-consciously funky ("Cat Creep"), uncondescendingly cool ("Where's The Music"), and unspookily moody ("Far East Sweets"). It's so obviously the product of three guys who know how to grow grooves, but also know how to grow bonds with 4-year-olds, that it makes other kids albums seem audaciously contrived, not to mention intolerably boring. Retentive types won't flinch from filing it alongside classics such as Schoolhouse Rock, Really Rosie, and the Sesame Street compilations. And four out of five preschoolers--maybe more like 499 out of 500--won't disagree: Medeski Martin & Wood merit the inclusion. --Tammy La Gorce
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and that's the best part.
it's not just for kids and tolerated by adults, nor for adults and tolerated by kids.
every one in my house loves it.
I also feel safe in saying that this is the exact listener that John Medeski, Billy Martin, and Chris Wood had in mind with this CD. Yes, they say is was all for the kiddies, but listening to this CD will bring a tickle to the adult ear every bit as much as the kid's.
There are some really adventurous things on this CD that are sure to captivate the imagination and playfulness of all listeners. "Where's the Music," for instance, consists of brief segments of funk that, when they come to a halt, are greeted with kids shouting, "Where's the music?," upon which the groove resumes. (Who can't imagine their kids getting in on that act? And the title track is a playful remake of Johny Cash's "I've Been Everywhere," this time, capturing kids imaginatiosn with a laundry list of exotic places. And then there is a kid chanting "Pat a Cake" to an ultra-funky drum loop. Need I say more about that one?
Then there are some of the instrumental tracks. (About 2/3rds have vocals and the rest don't.) To be honest, many of these tracks sound very much like some of the more "down to earth" stuff that MMW has performed over the years. Just as most of us could picture kids dancing to, and having fun with, those jams, so will they with these. They are imaginative, exploratory, and to a child, maybe even funny and amusing. (MMW does like to throw in strange sounding instruments like the thumb-piano and the gamalan.) The CD is also peppered with more "lullaby" sounding material, like the slow and sleepy "Old Paint," which I think is one of the most beautiful and sensitive songs I've ever heard MMW play. (Most fans would not even believe that it was them.)
The only concern I have about this disc - if I were a record executive, the concern would have been tripled - is where the market is for this CD. My worry is that kids might be a bit confused by this CD (especially the instrumental tracks), and adults might find this to be too "surface level" compared with the MMW they know and love.
My guess is that in the end, this might be the musical equivalent to Harry Potter, not in its success (!) but in the fact that what was intended for kids might find more receptive ears in their parents. Most reviewers have noticed this album's appeal to the whole family. They are correct. But I bet that this CD will wind up getting more rotation in the living room than the play room.
If you're reading this, buy any of the other MMW albums, and you will not regret it. (I suggest Shack Man. Personally my favorite) AND, go see them live! The live shows are amazing to say the least. Enjoy!