Mordialloc City Band to Mordialloc Jazz Orchestra: A 100+ year history
MoJO spent the first 88 years of its existence as the Mordialloc City Band. Formed around the time of the 1st World War, "Mordi Band" - as it is affectionately known - has been an important part of the community ever since, and the musical accompaniment to many of the major changes that have taken place in Mordialloc for over a century. Mordi Band has always been a warm and welcoming organisation, supporting people in their music making regardless of ability; rather than constantly striving for competitive success.
In the 1970's the band was lead for a considerable time by Ken Brown, under whose tutelage it achieved its highest bands league ranking of B Grade. It was also in this time that Allen Hill, a fine Melbourne jazz cornetist, began transcribing classic swing tunes for brass band instrumentation. Allen's jazz arrangements set Mordialloc Band apart from all other bands in that Mordialloc strove to perform enjoyable, 'easy to listen to' music rather than a focus on less accessible contest repertoire.
In the 1990's the band changed its name from Mordialloc City Band to Mordialloc Brass Band, due to local council amalgamation. In 1992 Peter Foley, who had begun in the band in 1970, returned as musical director and the band started to move in a new direction. Instruments such as saxophones and a rhythm section were welcomed, trumpets began to replace cornets, and in 2005 the band moved to formalise its identity as a jazz group. Thus MoJO, the Mordialloc Jazz Orchestra was born. The generosity of a bequest left to the band by much loved tuba player Ian Shedden, which specified that the money was to be used to assist the band to better promote itself and move in new directions, enabled the commissioning of a whole new library of jazz standards written specifically for this ensemble. Former associate musical director, trumpeter, and drummer, Dave Coughran-Lane, took on the task and the results of his work and Ian's vision can be seen in the MoJO the community enjoys today!
In 2015, MoJO celebrated their centenary with the release of a commemorative CD. It features newly recorded tracks, and remastered classics recorded in the 1970s and 1990s; showcasing MoJO's evolution from competitive brass band to the swing outfit it is today.
2020 saw the construction of a new band hall/rehearsal space for MoJO, at their long time site at the Jack Grut reserve. Local restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic meant MoJO had to wait until 2021 to enjoy this new space and the band are looking forward to many years of making music and connecting with the local community from this new home.
About the band: MoJO
The full Jazz Orchestra performs a wide range of repertoire. MoJO's catalogue includes over 160 tunes made famous by jazz greats like Count Base, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan; plus modern swing classics by Michael Bublé, Harry Connick Jr. and even Queen.
While instrumentation may vary slightly from gig to gig, you'd expect to see brass instruments like trumpets, euphoniums, tubas and trombones; woodwinds like saxophones and clarinets; rhythm like drums, guitar, bass, vibes and piano, and vocalists.
MoJO rehearses every Wednesday night from 7:30pm-9:30pm except during summer school holidays.
For events, MoJO uses it's distinctive 'old style' music stands. Performances always include full sound & lighting, plus up to 3 level staging, depending on the venue. MoJO performances generally go for about 2-3 hours (including breaks), with setup and pack-up of time of 1-2 hours. When considering MoJO for your event, adequate access and power must be available.
For more information about MoJO, how to hire the band for your event or how to join us in rehearsal, please contact us