Already the spelling of the formation reveals the elitist claim. fo/mo/deep is a band of the extraordinary. The core of the group consists of Ron "FatKat" Holmes, basses (fretted/fretless), André Scott, drums, percussion and Robert Mason, grand & electric piano, organ.

The discography includes the albums Eclecticism (2010), A Beautiful Bang (2012) and The Groovy Goodness (2014). This year Syzygy is joining them. In astronomy, a syzygy is a straight-line configuration of three or more celestial bodies in a gravitational system. Probably the title refers to the three members of the band who are in constant musical interaction.

Since the elitist is always in danger of self-isolation, the group has decided to open their album with a popular song. Curtis Mayfield was not only a highly talented songwriter but also the musical flagship of the African-American movement for equal rights in society and a precise observer of everyday problems. With Move On Up (1970) he spoke from the soul to the underprivileged and encouraged them not to give up. The group takes up this call because these problems still exist. If anyone is able to translate the dynamics of the piece into a piano run, it is Robert Mason.

The acoustic vibration of Ron's bass is the aptly introduction into Bourbon Neat, featuring Robert's fulminant solo on electric piano. From afar, memories of Mayfield's In The Ghetto emerge.  A Thousand Miles (originally titled "Interlude") is the debut single written and recorded by American pop singer Vanessa Carlton for her album Be Not Nobody (2002). Apart from the fact that this song celebrated chart success, it is probably the piano motif that attracted fo/m/deep to a cover. 

With Paradise, Mason recalls his own compositional strengths. As a songwriter of his own composition, he is able to fathom the finest nuances and depths of his piece. Maple Street is a piece first and foremost for virtuoso of the piano by John Funkhouser and Adam Saylor, both based in Berklee. André Scott shows his drumming skills at the end. Insiders will recognize a short quote of Summer Breeze.

The Lady in My Life is a ballad by Michael Jackson on his album Thriller (1982), written by Rod Temperton. Certainly the most smoothest R&B song on this album. fo/mo/deep concentrates on the beauties of the melody and delights in its note for note.

Giant Steps was the title composition for John Coltrane’s Atlantic Records debut LP in 1959. It is the measure of all things in jazz, released on more than 43 albums and covered innumerable times. At the center of the interpretation is Robert Mason's electric piano performance, which is still modified with presets. Naima was the name of John Coltrane's wife, who inspired him to this ballad of hunting beauty. Especially smooth jazz artists have taken up this theme again and again. fo/mo/deep uses this piece as starting point for their very own travel around planet Earth.

Ellsworth Ave is a street in Columbus, to which fo/mo/deep dedicated their virtuoso piece. Perhaps on the next album we will have a tribute to the East Deshler Avenue. Who doesn't remember the great song of the group Tears For Fears Everybody Wants to Rule the World?  fo/mo/deep slows down the tempo of the original and decorates the piece with many ornaments.

Medeski, Martin & Wood is an experimental jazz fusion trio, which has many intersections with f/mo/deep due to its basic musical attitude. The Lover is a tune from their album Friday Afternoon (1995). So what could be more natural than to take on this piece with a lot of passion?

With Syzygy, fo/mo/deep once again lives up to its unique characteristic. For the ever-increasing number of followers, this is further proof of their pronounced ingenuity.





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Album Information

Title: Syzygy
Artist: fo/mo/deep
Year: 2019
Genre: Contemporary Jazz
Label: RH Media


1. Move On Up - 5:01 - (C. Mayfield)
2. Bourbon Neat - 4:28 - (R. Mason/R. Holmes)
3. A Thousand Miles - 7:19 - (V. Carlton)
4. Paradise - 5:19 - (R. Mason)
5. Maple Street - 6:22 - (J. Funkhouser/ A. Saylor)
6. The Lady in My Life - 7:37 - (R. Temperton)
7. Giant Steps - 3:14 - (J. Coltrane)
8. Naima - 7:50 - (J. Coltrane)
9. Ellsworth Ave - 4:38 - (R. Holmes)
10. Everybody Wants to Rule the World - 5:51 (R. Orzabal/ I. Stanley / C. Hughes)
11. The Lover - 5:48 - (J. Medeski / B. Martin / C. Wood)

Further reviews:


The Groovy Goodness

A Beautiful Bang