262

Mo'Fone Delivers

By

Sign in to view read count
The first Friday night of every month, The San Jose Museum of Modern Art hosts live music. The audience is a strange brew: young hipsters, brie-and-Chard museumgoers, dating retirees, and everyone in between. Even a few jazz fans show up. If they came at the beginning of May for Mo'Fone, they left more than impressed.

Mo'Fone is jazz's answer to rock's power trio. Jeremy Steinkoler leads on the traps, delivering a steady onslaught of jazz and funk rhythms. He never descends into cliché; the dynamic nature of their music never gives him time to. Larry de la Cruz's sax work reminds me of Sonny Stitt in his later days, cool stuff served straight-up, never self-indulgent. What surprised me, and continues to, was the third man in this group, Jim Peterson on the baritone sax. Dressed in a gray double-breasted suit and looking a little like a CPA, he blew a mean horn, jumping with the beat and swooning around to deliver it to a nearby couple who'd decided to dance.

And that's it: no bass, no piano, just two lower-register horns and a drummer. Gerry Mulligan's pianoless quartet taken to the next degree.

I should add some caution to that comparison, though. Certainly this isn't a simple modern update of LA cool jazz. Everything's dripping of funk, much more modern than Mulligan's neo-Dixieland. And, just to make sure no one in the band (or audience) gets too comfy, both de la Cruz and Peterson deploy an arsenal of saxophones up and down the register, unwilling to sit behind their alto and baritone all night long. Although Mo'Fone's selections are perfect frameworks for improvisation, the group's far too mature to descend into cutting contests or far-out modal wanderings. I mistook one piece as a cover of "Pick Up the Pieces" without all that Average White Band aftertaste, and perhaps that's the best way I can describe their sound. Don't mistake me; this isn't reheated 1970s crossover. The band sounds fresh without losing sight of its jazz grounding. In a word, Mo'Fone delivers.

Visit Mo'Fone on the web at www.mofone.net .


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
Read more articles
Donald Harrison Donald Harrison
sax, alto
Eric Bolvin Eric Bolvin
trumpet
World Saxophone Quartet World Saxophone Quartet
band/orchestra
Harvey Mason Harvey Mason
drums
Frank Catalano Frank Catalano
sax, tenor
Jimmy Owens Jimmy Owens
trumpet
Dirty Dozen Brass Band Dirty Dozen Brass Band
band/orchestra
Chuck Rainey Chuck Rainey
bass, electric
Times 4 Times 4
band/orchestra
Sam Butera Sam Butera
saxophone
T.K. Blue T.K. Blue
saxophone

More Articles

Read Panama Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Panama Jazz Festival 2017
by Mark Holston
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Foundation of Funk at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom Live Reviews Foundation of Funk at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
by Geoff Anderson
Published: February 20, 2017
Read The Cookers at Nighttown Live Reviews The Cookers at Nighttown
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: February 16, 2017
Read Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens Live Reviews Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "Erik Friedlander At National Concert Hall, Dublin" Live Reviews Erik Friedlander At National Concert Hall, Dublin
by Ian Patterson
Published: February 8, 2017
Read "Randy Newman at the Space in Westbury" Live Reviews Randy Newman at the Space in Westbury
by Mike Perciaccante
Published: April 16, 2016
Read "The Rhythm Future Quartet at The Evening Muse" Live Reviews The Rhythm Future Quartet at The Evening Muse
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 29, 2016
Read "Michele Hendricks at Sunset Jazz Club" Live Reviews Michele Hendricks at Sunset Jazz Club
by Patricia Myers
Published: August 9, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!