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"MOJOMO! risin'"

Ear Full
New funk/jazz band releases first EP
By Randy Shemanski

Newly formed funk/jazz band MOJOMO! describes its sound on its Web site as “really nasty funk.” On the surface, that description might scare a few potential fans away. But when you dig deeper into that description, it’s easy to see that in this case, nasty is good.

“It makes you just want to cringe your face and go, ‘Wow, what a great groove,’” says drummer Ruben Ariola. “I think that’s the essence of our sound. We try to keep that a priority, that old-school groove.

“It’s more of a feel or a mood that you get put into when you hear something like that.”

The group, which features Dave Anderson (guitar), Rick Belza (keys), Bill Coleman (bass), Cory Lewis (guitar), Ron Richardson (percussion), Michael G. Williams (sax) and Ariola, recently released its first EP, Trippin’ for Biscuits. The five-track disc features three original songs — “Storyville” and “Knockin’ on Your Backdoor” were written when Coleman, Belza and Anderson were members of Funk ’n’ Gumbo, and the title track was written by the six members of MOJOMO!. Also included on the disc are two covers — “Yellow Moon” by the Neville Brothers and “Look-ka Py Py” by The Meters.

According to Coleman, Trippin’ for Biscuits is an advance of a full-length album the group hopes to have finished by this fall. As for live shows, they’re playing a mix of original stuff and covers with their own twist.

“We’re working on stuff now that we’re not ready to do yet, but what we’ll do at the shows is we’ll stylize some of the old tunes we’re doing,” Coleman said. “We just do them our own way. As we’re doing more and more originals, we’re adding them into the show.”

The group formed when Coleman and Ariola, who knew each other for a few years, began talking about starting a new band. Coleman recruited Belza and Anderson from their days together in Funk ’n’ Gumbo, and Ariola brought in Lewis, Richardson and Williams, who all have experience playing in New York City and nearby areas. Each member brings his own influences, according to Ariola.

“I definitely have to say that we would draw from a lot of variables being that the band members are from a wide variety of experiences, from world music to fusion, Latin jazz to straight ahead jazz, bebop to gospel,” he said.

With so many different influences, it would be easy to assume MOJOMO’s sound would be complicated, but that’s not the case.

“If you listen to our stuff, we try not to be overcomplicated,” he said. “We try to keep it simple for everybody to hear, but a lot of small, simple things and syncopation that work together.”

MOJOMO! will play the Harmony for Haiti benefit at St. Rose Academy in Mayfield on Sunday, Feb. 28 at 4 p.m. For more information, tour dates or to listen to tracks off Trippin’ for Biscuits, visit - Electric City


MOJOMO! just released a five-song EP entitled Trippin' for Biscuits. Some tracks from that cd can be heard on Sonicbids. The cd is available to talent buyers upon request. A full length cd is planned for release later in 2010.

The members of MOJOMO! have recorded with several artists over the years.



The lineup of players from NYC, New Jersey and the Pocono region, MOJOMO! offers great grooves and really nasty funk. With their members coming from years of playing with bands and backing up top artists from the New York metro area, MOJOMO! will make you get on your feet. MOJOMO! is the reincarnation of the highly noted funk/jam band, Funk ‘n’ Gumbo, which has made its way to many festivals, fairs and clubs on the east coast.

Within its new instrumentation, MOJOMO! has two highly skilled guitarists in Dave Anderson and Cory Lewis pushing out funky rhythms and harmony guitar licks. On percussion and vocals is Ron Richardson, who has performed with national Motown acts, Ruben Ariola on drums has performed with many New York funk, rock and jazz and world music groups. Saxophonist/floutist Michael Williams, another New York City native, has toured world-wide. Journeyman bassist Bill Coleman has worked with a number of groups on the east coast. Keyboard player Rick Belza has performed with many rock, jazz, country and funk bands in the northeast.