Medeski, Martin and Wood have a good thing going with 20-plus years of being both a groovy and avant-garde organ trio.
Adding John Scofield to their tight chemistry could have been disastrous, but Scofield knows his way around soul and funk, and his presence has broadened their sound.
This is their third collaboration, every bit as good as the previous two.
Medeski is still a master at getting different sounds out of his keyboards and still keeping it in the groove. Scofield squeezes out notes from his guitar and makes lyrical, logical solos while still blending in to the overall feel.
Here, he has a little Jeff Beck in him without the showy pyrotechnics.
Martin and Wood keep both a steady, easy-to-dance-to rhythm but still add subtle contortions and space, which is where the funk really lies.
What elevates this record is the songs.
They have pretty melodies and structures, including the ’70s-pop feel of “I Know You” and the almost Sly Stone changes of “Juicy Lucy.”
In addition, they add a cover of “Light My Fire” with a backbeat and they play a dub rhythm to “Sunshine of Your Love” that pushes it into Lee “Scratch” Perry territory.
On Juice, Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood bring the funk and add to it to keep it more than interesting.