Medeski Martin and Wood End of the World Party (Just in Case)

Despite its atrocious title, End of the World Party (Just in Case) is a consistently solid and worthwhile Medeski, Martin & Wood affair. It’s down, dirty, funky (check out the Stevie Wonder grooves of "Reflector” for proof) and keeps the going rock steady the whole way through while using the entire spectrum of past rhythmic glory for inspiration. There are ’70s film soundtrack runaways ("Ice,” the title track), dark lurches that skulk about ("Bloody Oil,” "Midnight Poppies / Crooked Birds”), jazzy workouts ("Mami Gato,” "Queen Bee”) and some downright stank grooves ("Curtis”). Basically, this is the latest in the increasing line of modest wins that comprise Medeski, Martin & Wood’s catalogue. Sure, they never really take things to a truly groundbreaking or adventurous level, but as far as straight-up cooking goes, this aging trio still have all the right spices to satisfy. (Blue Note)