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By all accounts from those who were there, the initial on-stage meeting between drummer Billy Martin and Hammond B-3 organist Wil Blades at the 2011 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival was a barn burner of deep, in-the-pocket funk, spiraling soul-jazz, and kinetic grooves.
Three reasons to come out to StageOne for this show:
ONE: Martin, best known for his role in the trio Medeski, Martin & Wood, is acclaimed for his ability to range from accessible grooves to challenging avant-garde material; allmusic.com ranks him as "one of the most forward-thinking, innovative, and influential percussionists in the music world." So the chance to see him in any context shouldn't lightly be passed up.
TWO: His partner, Wil Blades, is a West Coast organ prodigy who has drawn praise for his ability to call on the rich tradition of the Hammond B3, yet bring his own identity to it. He's performed with the likes of John Lee Hooker and Lonnie Smith and been named as a rising star in the DownBeat magazine critics poll.
THREE: Because Martin and Blades' debut album, "Shimmy," is everything a drum and B-3 duo record should be: its tunes are high in the fingerpop quotient, it's greasy and danceable throughout, allowing soul-jazz, blues, and funk to get all over one another. Its sense of musical surprise and tight, inspired improvising make it essential for modern jazz and jam band fans.