Powerful, dynamic and indefatigable; MOUNT KUJO is a Melbourne based, internationally formed act blending Funk, Jazz, Latin and Afrobeat.
If there is one thing to be grateful for in these tumultuous times, it is what has happened to the state of modern jazz. That sounds facetious, but hear me out: far away from the traditional jazz-club house bands are clusters of musicians developing jazz in the most exciting and sincere ways. These artists have been developing their styles by excitedly combining music of all ages and cultures.
This new generation of musicians have heard the intersections of time and space and found a similitude between the ultra deep Soul-jazz works of 70’s period American composers such as Les McCann or Yusef Lateef, with West African Afrobeat and Highlife legends, Progressive Rock, Ethiopian Jazz and more. Following the first generation of bands to do this such as The Shaolin Afronauts, The Budos Band and The Souljazz Orchestra, comes the newest addition of soulful and talented musicians to explore this expansive melting pot: Melbourne’s own MOUNT KUJO!
Those lucky enough to have experienced the band in their formative years leading up to their first album and to have seen one of their legendary monthly residency shows at the cultural apogee of Bar Oussou would have fond memories of these wild, sweaty nights: MOUNT KUJO, in all their wisdom and curiosity, have formulated the perfect concoction for a cathartic friday night freak out: Tight jams, low on keychanges but high in technique and energy using the old jazz adage of theme-solo-theme to let all the band members have a turn to thrill the audience; drums pounding out infectious polyrhythms while bandleader-guitarist Max Myland raises the roof by hoarsely screaming instructions to the band, just like a live Mingus record.
Add to this the sonic explorations the partake in by hooking up their brass instruments to myriads of pedals that push the band into psychedelic territory, completely improvised jams that sound like the band has been on tour together for years, and colourful outfits to lighten the mood on stage, and you are close to the joy and excitement MOUNT KUJO bring to a live show. Their origins are a little mysterious. They like to keep it that way, but it is clear they didn’t source a stellar nine piece orchestra with musicians from five different countries by accident. Rumor has it that Max Myland and bass player Andrew Malynowsky were already writing songs when they started to go out together to see other local bands play, with the clear motive of collecting the cream of Melbourne’s international scene for their own band.