With its surprising and highly combustible line-up of two saxmen and one drummer, the Oakland-based group MO’FONE has thrilled audiences with some of the funkiest jazz—and jazziest funk—being played today. Powering its way through inventive, high-energy original compositions, MO’FONE explores the sonic landscape of its instrumentation with a relentless adventurousness, creating a huge sound... more
With its surprising and highly combustible line-up of two saxmen and one drummer, the Oakland-based group MO’FONE has thrilled audiences with some of the funkiest jazz—and jazziest funk—being played today. Powering its way through inventive, high-energy original compositions, MO’FONE explores the sonic landscape of its instrumentation with a relentless adventurousness, creating a huge sound that belies its compact size.
Combining serious musicianship with an infectious sense of fun onstage, MO’FONE manages to groove with abandon while keeping miraculously in balance, as each member of the band pushes his instrument well beyond its role in a more traditional trio. What’s more, MO’FONE delivers adventurous riffs and grooves, while achieving a sound that’s not only accessible, but instantly addictive. Their groovy improvisations and original concept have twice earned them the award for Best Jazz Group in the 2008 & 2012 East Bay Express Readers’ Poll, and secured them repeated slots at the Monterey, San Francisco and Sonoma Jazz Festivals, in addition to gigs at the Bay Area’s premier live music venues. The group was also nominated for Best Funk Band in the 2008 SF Weekly Music Awards.
“I was hooked from the first track,” wrote the Contra Costa Times of the band’s debut disc, Surf’s Up (Evander Music, 2003). “Mo’Fone proves it’s the biggest little band on the scene. On each piece, the trio finds ingenious ways of creating a full, multitextured, hard grooving sound.”
A healthy portion of that driving sound comes from the mighty baritone sax and bass clarinet of JIM PETERSON, alternating seamlessly between funky bass lines and powerful melodic riffs. A stalwart of the Bay Area scene for more than 20 years, Jim is a veteran of leading bands like Mitch Woods and His Rocket 88s, Indigo Swing, and Motordude Zydeco. Soaring overhead on alto sax, clarinet and flute is LARRY DE LA CRUZ, whose own impressive résumé includes stints with Phil Woods, Bobby Hutcherson, the Temptations, Boca do Rio, and Doc Severinsen. Completing the MO’FONE magic is drummer JEREMY STEINKOLER, “a master of second line syncopation” (SF Bay Guardian) whose orchestral approach to percussion drives the trio’s turn-on-a-dime dynamics and gives MO’FONE its third ceaselessly inventive solo voice.
As AllAboutJazz.com summed up the group’s exhilarating and cohesive sound: “This jazz trio is a powerhouse to be reckoned with…. If Mo’Fone doesn’t blow your socks off, you’re not paying attention.”
"Mo'Fone puts the fun back in funk!" -JazzTimes
"A minimal but mighty romp!" -East Bay Express
"One of the hottest bands to surface in a long while." -jazzwest.com
"Like a furious detachment of the Tower of Power horns." -ejazznews.com
"My favorite album of the year by far." -Contra Costa Times
"Mo'Fone brings the grease." -Jazziz
"Snaps and crackles like James Brown's Famous Flames mixed with a New Orleans second line." -jazzweekly.com