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A Different Time

8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 9, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

Keyboard master John Medeski thrives on the unpredictable, a trait that has kept his work with the trailblazing trio Medeski Martin & Wood (MMW) fresh and surprising for more than twenty years. With A Different Time, his first solo piano project, Medeski once again takes his sound in a completely unexpected direction. A Different Time is a far more introspective, meditative collection than fans of MMW's lively, groove-driven music might expect. Consisting mainly of his own compositions and improvisations, A Different Time presents a different side of Medeski's prodigious artistry. "I had a more eclectic record in mind," says Medeski. "I wanted to put out something that would be more representative of what my live solo concerts are like. The whole point is to get lost in the music."

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 9, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,323 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By oldhippierick on April 10, 2013
Format: Audio CD
Label: OKeh/Sony Masterworks [544246] CD 2013A Different Time

Organ ace John Medeski dons the mask of a left-leaning jazzer teetering on the brink of the jam band precipice when he appears with his co-lead super trio, Medeski, Martin & Wood (MMW), or in any number of other contexts, but that's his public face; his private pianistic side is on display on the aptly title A Different Time.

Medeski returns to his alone-at-the-piano roots here, looking back to a time when intimate, measured self-expression reigned supreme in the world, and in his own developing musical persona. This thematic umbrella covers the entirety of his first solo piano album to date, but that's not the only period piece aspect of this recording; in fact, Medeski's musical explorations, as introspective and unforced as they may be here, are practically the only thing that tethers this album to the present day. A Different Time was recorded in New York's Waterfront Studios, which is housed within a church dating back to the 19th century, and it finds Medeski's fingers caressing the keys of a 1924 Gaveau; Medeski started the recording process with a Steinway but changed gears when he encountered, and ultimately fell for, the distinctly different Gaveau.

The studio location and instrument-of-choice obviously point to another era, but there's even more to this old-to-new story: A Different Time is the first album to be released under the recently revived Okeh imprint. Sony Music saw fit to re-launch this storied label, which played host to Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and many other jazz greats in the past.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Delite Rancher VINE VOICE on May 8, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
"A Different Time" is John Medeski's first solo album. It shows another side of the Medeski, Martin and Wood keyboard wizard. In this setting, the high priest of avant-funk leaves his pyrotechnic bag of tools at home. Here, Medeski is a pianist, pure and simple. While he's no stranger to playing solo piano live, this is the first time that such music has been released on album. There's a beautiful story about how he plays a 1924 Gaveau, a French piano that's as unusual as it is rare. What does it sound like? Minimalist may be the best descriptor. The songs are straightforward, loose and light. While the inner art work may be a nod to Thelonious Monk's "Criss Cross," "A Different Time" is a meditative endeavor. Thus there are no real stand-outs; the songs work best within the meditative context. Along these lines, John Medeski intends for the album to be enjoyed, ". . . when you are tired of words, and you are ready to yield to the sounds of these simple contemplations . . ." "A Different Time" is relaxing but a bit bland. It's hard not to think of this as true background music. Music can be reflective but still compelling. Along these lines, "Beauty As Beauty" -released the same year- sounds remarkably similar yet prevails in this department. Beyond this, Medeski's signature sound is absent. While John Medeski is arguably the greatest keyboardist of our time, he sounds like just about anybody here. Since the Blues are such an important part of Medeski's signature sound, its removal makes his playing profoundly different. Looking back at the artist's discography, "A Different Time" works for variety sake. In the end, "A Different Time" succeeds as a piano meditation.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rich on June 27, 2013
Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
I have known John for 30 years. I have watch his playing and career mature and evolve in unimaginable ways. He is always seeking something new, something better, something more meaningful. He is a very spiritual person. I heard him give solo piano performances when he was only 17yo. He was raw, explosive and genius. Audiences would erupt after he finished. This recording is much more subdued and refined than those early days. The artist has fully emerged as a master, but the feeling of divine inspiration and musical magic have remained.

This music will take some time to absorb. It is nothing like MMW. At first it seems like mood music, pretty piano with a surprising twist. But after a few listens, it starts to get under your skin, and it has a powerful effect. It is a view into the soul of a great master artist. I am so proud of all that John has accomplished, and so glad to be able to hear once again the pure power of his piano without the rules and distraction of accompaniment.

The recording itself is also masterful. This is definitely one of the finest piano recordings I have heard. Ribbon mic to analog tape, it might even be 'AAA.' The piano sounds gorgeous, big, full, round, tonally textured, with natural honest piano sound. Not the hyper-beauty-tone of the modern super pianos like Bosendorfer. This is real, organic, honest and pure. The noise floor is extremely quiet, unbelievable for vinyl. Johns touch is so refined and dynamic. The overall theme of the record is one of subdued introspection, but the sensitivity of the piano, combined with John's emotional expressiveness is unlike any other piano performance I have heard. Listen to the soft grace notes between the melody and you will hear how quietly this piano can play, and it is improvisation!
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