MJB2; STILL BOOGYING!
Tom Egan and the MojoBoogie Band have been
adding a little spice and a whole lotta interactive
fun to the music scene in the Twin Tiers area for over three years now.
What started as a weekend project among a group of new-found friends (who just
happened to rank as some of the most versatile and experienced players around)
has become a phenomenon.
Where else will you find a group with
their roots spread wide enough to encompass all genres of rock-‘n-roll, jazz, blues, soul, R&B, sacred/gospel, classical,
folk, funk and Cajun zydeco? Throw into that mix enough energy to power a
small city, rip away the boundaries that normally define what a band “should”
do, and you’ve got a powerful recipe for a dynamically different evening of
The overwhelming element of this
band, according to their loyal fans, is their dedication to the idea that
everybody in the house should be having as much fun as they are. Talk about
setting a high standard; but the Master Blaster, that Wandering Minstrel of
Mayhem, Tom Egan, is more than equal to the task of reaching out to any
audience and encouraging everyone to get into the act.
It isn’t enough to this gang for the
audience to sit back and listen and watch, though the degree of talent and
skill contained just within the instrumentalists more than merits that kind of
Jim Kilmer, on his
trademark candy-apple red Rickenbacker guitar “Big Red” has
worked nationwide with well known acts such as Burn. Though best known for his
tasty riffs and clean, pure solo technique, Jimbo is
that rare creature, a guitarist who knows when to lay back and go with the
Drummer Michael Putano is recognized as one of the most versatile and
musical percussionists around, with an innate ability to meld finesse and style
with a driving back beat that keeps the crowd on it’s feet. Though he can handle anything from shuffle to
swing, boogie to jam-band drum trips, Michael secretly
loves to bust loose on some great rock-‘n-roll.
Mike Caloroso on keyboard
alone would be dangerous enough. Add in
the fact that he is providing that pounding bass-line that propels the sound
while adding harmonies and lead vocals to the mix, and it’s amazing the stage
isn’t melting under his feet!
Layer on top of this scrumptious
concoction a lady known as “The Southern Tier Queen of Soul”, lead vocalist Sammi G. She can ‘rock you right’,
soothe your troubled heart with sweet ballads, and shock you (just a little!)
with some down-and dirty blues. Sammi and Tom have
achieved balance unusual in a male/female singing team. Just watching their
back-and-forth on stage is enough to bring a smile to your face.
As if this wasn’t enough, there is kickin’ harmonica work by Tom. Then, just to take it over
the top, tap into the magic of sweet sax sounds and unique world-beat rhythms
from Rob Weinberger, popular composer, teacher and
arranger, who is also a founding member of the successful local original, Unity
Group. Stir in a big dose of crazy crowd pleasers such as the ever-popular ‘Oreo Cookie Eating Contest’, and the
ultimate chance for audience members to get into the act, ‘Blues On Command’, and you are in for an
entertainment experience you won’t find anywhere else.
MJB2, as it has
come to be referred to among aficionados, is still dedicated to the principle,
as Professor Peter Schickele says, “all music is created equal”, or in the words of the great
Duke Ellington, “If it sounds good, it is good!” Some of the songs you will hear during a show
might bring back memories, while some will possibly open new musical vistas for
you to explore. One thing that is “gar-on-teed”; this is a musical
experience meant to give you a toe-tappin’, tune-hummin’, rollicking good time!