MFUO includes four legendary musicians – guitarist Jacques Lesure, organist Pete Kuzma, percussionist Christian Moraga and drummer Marvin ” Smitty ” Smith – who together make up the smooth and harmonious sounds of contemporary jazz. Guitarist Jacques Lesure said MFUO is “a Swahili word that means group”.
In March 2020, just two days before the Santa Monica lockdown, drummer Smitty was due to perform at the SMC with a band of ten. After a call from Professor Fiddmont, the show was canceled. Six months later, Professor Fiddmont calls Smitty to discuss the possibility of performing with a smaller group, and MFUO is then the quartet that starts the concert series. Smitty said, “It’s nice to just come in and start things over.”
At a distance of 6 feet from each other, a diverse group of jazz lovers chatted among themselves and waited for the concert to begin. With no raised stage, the audience sat at round tables and the atmosphere of the venue felt like an old school nightclub. Organ player Pete Kuzma mingled with the guests while Smithy and Jacques watched over the audience. Professor FK Fiddmont shared his thoughts before the show. He said, “It’s an opportunity for students to experience live jazz, something they certainly didn’t have during COVID.”
MFUO’s instrumentation is a classic quartet – percussion, organ, electric guitar and drums – but the genre mix ranges from Latin fusion to rock and roll. The session included interpretations of “War Pigs” (composed by Black Sabbath) and “Boogie Woogie Bossa Nova” (composed by Eddie Harris) that brought together generations of different musicians.
The first track, “Unit Seven” (composed by Sam Jones), began with percussion, organ and electric guitar of the quartets, which intertwined at the tempo of Smithy’s drums and gave the audience a beat to follow. Guitarist Jacques Lesure said that performing is “one of the best things there is because now I am releasing something bigger than me to get to something that can be given as a gift to someone else while the gift is through me flows ”. . “
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