John Medeski

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John Medeski
John Medeski.jpg
John Medeski performing with Medeski Martin Scofield & Wood in 2007
Background information
Birth nameAnthony John Medeski
Born (1965-06-28) June 28, 1965 (age 55)
Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Genres Jazz, funk
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
InstrumentsKeyboards, piano
Associated acts Medeski Martin & Wood, The Word, Saudade

Anthony John Medeski (born June 28, 1965) is an American jazz keyboard player and composer. Medeski is a veteran of New York's 1990s avant-garde jazz scene and is known popularly as a member of Medeski Martin & Wood. [1] He plays the acoustic piano and an eclectic array of keyboards, including the Hammond B3 organ, melodica, mellotron, clavinet, ARP String Ensemble, Wurlitzer electric piano, Moog Voyager Synthesizer, Wurlitzer 7300 Combo Organ, Vox Continental Baroque organ, and Yamaha CS-1 Synthesizer (a "kids' toy"), among others. When playing acoustic piano, Medeski usually plays the Steinway piano and is listed as a Steinway Artist. [2]



Medeski was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and grew up in Florida. After studying piano as a child (starting when he was five years old), he began as a teenager to perform with musicians such as Mark Murphy and Jaco Pastorius. He attended Pine Crest School. In 1983, after graduating from high school, he began studying piano at the New England Conservatory in Boston, where he performed as a sideman with Dewey Redman, Billy Higgins, Bob Mintzer, Alan Dawson. Medeski attributes his early interest in playing improvised music and jazz to listening to Oscar Peterson. [3]

Medeski performs in a range of musical styles, from accessible groove based funk and jazz (such as the MMW albums and A Go Go with John Scofield) to more experimental music (including many of John Zorn's projects: Duras: Duchamp, Interzone, Liber Novus, Nova Express, Dreamachines, Templars: In Sacred Blood, At the Gates of Paradise etc. and collaborations with David Fiuczynski).

Medeski is best known for his work with Medeski Martin & Wood including drummer and percussionist Billy Martin and bassist Chris Wood. The trio formed in New York in 1991 playing gigs at The Village Gate. [4] Since the mid-1990s they have toured steadily in both national and international funk, jazz, and jam music scenes. The band has collaborated with such musicians as Iggy Pop, Trey Anastasio and John Scofield.

Medeski produced and was featured on the Dirty Dozen Brass Band's 1999 release Buckjump. [5] Also in 1999, he played the organ on two tracks of the Morphine album The Night .

In 2000, Medeski became a member of The Word, a bluesy gospel style project with members Robert Randolph (pedal steel) from Robert Randolph and the Family Band, brothers Luther Dickinson (guitar) and Cody Dickinson (drums), and Chris Chew (bass) of North Mississippi Allstars. The band released a self-titled album in 2001 and toured in 2001 and 2002. The band reunited in 2005 for a performance at the Bonnaroo Music Festival, and they embarked on tour again in late 2007.

He has also occasionally performed with Phil Lesh and Friends.

Medeski was a guest on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz radio program on September 27, 2005. During the show he talked at length about his formal training on the piano, his approach to playing music, and some of the musicians that he admires the most. He performed several songs by Thelonious Monk and other composers, as well as the Medeski, Martin & Wood classic "Bubblehouse". The show was released on compact disc on April 4, 2006.

Medeski was also an inaugural member of the Independent Music Awards' judging panel to support independent artists. [6]

On July 14, 2006, John Medeski & The Itch performed their debut gig at the All Good Music Festival in Masontown, West Virginia. The Itch consists of Eric Krasno (guitar) of Soulive and Adam Deitch (drums) with Medeski playing a B3 Organ. Also in 2006, Medeski performed with The Million Dollar Bashers for the recording of the soundtrack to the Bob Dylan biopic, I'm Not There .

In 2008, Medeski was featured on guitarist Will Bernard's Blue Plate Special album.

In 2012, Medeski was featured on progressive rock band Coheed and Cambria's albums "The Afterman: Ascension" and "The Afterman: Descension," performing piano, clavinet and synthesizer parts.

In 2016, Medeski formed the supergroup Saudade along with Chino Moreno of Deftones, Team Sleep, Palms, and Crosses; guitarist Dr. Know of Bad Brains; bassist Chuck Doom of Crosses and Team Sleep; and drummer Mackie Jayson of Cro-Mags and Bad Brains. [7]

In 2018, Medeski formed John Medeski's Mad Skillet with two members of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. They recorded an album in New Orleans and toured subsequently. [8]


With Medeski Martin & Wood
With Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood
With Billy Martin
With The Word
With Hudson
With David Fiuczynski
With Marian McPartland
With Pat Sansone, Robby Grant & Jonathan Kirkscey

As backing musician

With James Carter
With Cibo Matto

With Either/Orchestra

With Béla Fleck and the Flecktones
With Marc Ribot
With Roswell Rudd
With John Scofield

With Spectrum Road (Tony Williams tribute project with Cindy Blackman, Jack Bruce, Vernon Reid)

With Steev Richter
With Surrender to the Air
With Matt Wilson
With John Zorn
With Tisziji Muñoz
With Auktyon

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  1. John Medeski Biography Joslyn Layne, AllMusic , retrieved November 23, 2008
  2. "Steinway Artists M". Steinway & Sons. 2009. Archived from the original on February 6, 2010. Retrieved February 10, 2010.
  3. Dr. Oscar Peterson, 1925–2007 Archived June 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine Ernie Rideout, Keyboard Magazine , March 2008, retrieved November 23, 2008
  4. A Fireside Chat with John Medeski Fred Jung, All About Jazz , February 21, 2004, retrieved November 23, 2008
  5. Music for Its Own Sake: An Interview with John Medeski Archived October 8, 2007, at the Wayback Machine Krista Cameli,, May 1999, retrieved November 23, 2008
  6. Independent Music Awards – Past Judges Archived July 13, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  7. Pearce, Sheldon. "Deftones' Chino Moreno Forms Supergroup Saudade With Bad Brains, Cro-Mags Members, John Medeski". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  9. "Medeski Martin & Wood Announce New Album – 'Free Magic'". The Jazz Line. Retrieved August 6, 2012.