Medeski Martin & Wood formed in 1991, marrying elements of funk, hip-hop and rock with a foundation in jazz and the avant-garde. Alarm Will Sound, established in 2001, is a 20-piece chamber orchestra that has deftly and steadily worked to change the perception of what a small contemporary music orchestra can be. These two trailblazing ensembles will release a new album, Omnisphere, on September 14 via Medeski, Martin & Wood's own imprint, Indirecto Records. It will be released on limited edition 2-LP vinyl and digital formats.
Omnisphere was recorded live at The Newman Center in Denver, Colorado, in February 2015, and fulfills a long-held aspiration for keyboardist John Medeski, drummer-percussionist Billy Martin and bassist Chris Wood. The three would often listen to classical and chamber music as a source of inspiration in the early days of the band, conceptualizing the idea of how to merge their freewheeling improvisational jazz explorations with the more composed approach of orchestral music.
"The more we worked together, the more I realized how perfect this is. How they are, for their universe, very much like us," says Medeski about his band's collaboration with Alarm Will Sound via a press release. "We have a certain connection that's like family and they're like a family, so it's like these two families coming together."
"We knew we had a winner of idea," says Alan Pierson, the Alarm Will Sound's artistic director and conductor. "A number of [our musicians] have really idolized Medeski Martin & Wood for years, and so there was a lot of excitement in the group."
The new album features seven tracks, striking an ideal balance with original music by members of both groups and new Alarm Will sound arrangements of two cuts from Medeski Martin & Wood's 2004 album End of the World Party (Just in Case). The title track from that collection is the first single from Omnisphere, and is available from today, August 17, on all digital streaming platforms.
Like this article? Get more when you subscribe.