Members: Jose Canto, bongos/percussion; Gerry Evans, bass; Sean Hock, guitar; Mark Holman, trumpet; Bill Huff, saxophone; Frank Shortino, congas/percussion; Travis Spurley, saxophone
Who we talked to: Evans, 46
How did you guys meet/ How long have you been performing together?The band formed together originally with myself and the guitarist, Sean Hock. And (he) and I had been playing in bands before ... for probably over the past 10 years. (He) and I had been doing a duo project for a while. We would play ... various wineries (and) different types of shops and bars. We'd primarily been playing jazz, rock 'n' roll, funk, world, reggae - a little bit of everything. (Sean) and I started venturing out and finding other musicians. (He) and I met up with Frank Shortino ... and we started playing as a trio. Shortly after that, we pulled in Jose Canto (who's) originally from Puerto Rico. We brought in a lot more of a Latin flavor. Frank playing congas (incorporates) Afro-Cuban type if music. We then brought in Bill Huff (and) Mark Holman. The latest addition to the group has been Travis Spurley, an alto sax player. That's how the band evolved over time.
Have the additional musicians changed the sound? You bring in these different flavors (to) the musical palette. We re-invent the songs (we play) all the time ... whether it's (by) Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, John Coltrane (or) Miles Davis. We always add our own spin on the tunes. We rearrange them ourselves. We're always mixing it up. We don't want to get settled in our comfort zone. We try to ... always bring something new and fresh. We interpret the songs how we feel in the moment. As a musician, you have to read ... how you're feeling for the day (and) what the overall band is feeling. You have to look at the audience, too.
Do you play covers, originals or a blend of both? We play covers. We play what we call jazz standards (and) Latin standards. Quite often, we'll play, and after a set, somebody or a couple people will come up and ask us, "What was that tune you were playing?" We take every song that we do and we make it our own. A lot of times (band members) who are soloing (will) look for a melody from a familiar tune. It makes the audience listen up.
How did you come up with the name? We were trying to come up with a name and, as always, everybody is trying to throw out ideas. We're just trying to find something that, you know, is a good representation. We all listen to all different types of music. Sean ... kept on saying, "I really want to see if we can make the work mojo in something." I kept on thinking of ("Austin Powers"). I was thumbing through my iPod. I was listening to some John McLaughlin - a legendary fusion jazz guitarist. His original band when he came here in the early '70s was called The Mahavishnu Orchestra. I told Sean (Mojovishnu) and he absolutely loved that. We love Mahavishnu. That was the genesis for all this new type of instrumental jazz music (with) all different types of sounds.
Have you thought about recording at all? Now that the band is kind of solidified right now, I think we'll actually start looking at doing some recording (in early) 2013. I ran into a friend of mine who's a recording engineer. He said, "I keep on hearing about you guys. We've got to get some of this on record here." We want to work on some originals as well as incorporate ... some of those different tunes that we do. Right now, we're out there. We've been doing lot of gigs. People are starting to hear us, and we're getting a following going.
What is your day job? I'm a systems analyst (at York College) plus all the music and being a father and husband and everything else. We all have full-time jobs. We all work. Everybody does a million things. And (the band) is really ... our passion.
- ERIN MCCRACKEN,