Before it even came out back in 1998, this CD got a lot of attention. MM&W were one of the leaders of a brave new nu jazz/acid jazz scene that had not been totally accepted by the jazz establishment yet. John Scofield was one of the first veteran jazz musicians to reach out to this nu scene when he invited MM&W to record “A Go Go” with him. Expectations were running so high for this one that it was hard to make everyone happy and the resultant CD is a decent funky jazz workout, but nothing particularly new or mind-blowing either. MMW’s feel for the funk is a little on the loose and jazzy side of things, so if you are looking for blistering tight funk ala The Meters or The JB’s, this one will also leave you looking as well.
The first five cuts on here are fairly solid jazz/funk numbers, somewhat old school, but with a modern slight hip-hop shuffle feel in the drums. The overall approach on here is kind of relaxed and loungey, although they do get heated sometimes too. Scofield and keyboardist John Medeski play great solos throughout and favor clever twists on clichés over pyro-techniques which goes well with the relaxed rhythmic feel. Martin and Wood are a decent rhythm section, but Scofield has played with better.
After the first five cuts the band gets a little more experimental, with mixed results. MM&W, along with other groups from the “jam band” scene, have brought back a certain shaggy hippy approach to music that may have more appeal to young jam band fans than jazz fans, or even fusion fans. Overall this is a good CD and should appeal to fans of both artists as well as fans of the jazzier end of today’s jam scene.