Read the Providence Phoenix review
of the new MO'JO Rhythm Combo CD.
The MO'JO RHYTHM COMBO consists of both Otis Read and Johnny "Juxo" and their extended cast of musicial conspirators. The COMBO's music ranges from barrelhouse blues, to early syncopated jazz, to New Orleans style R&B, to semi-obscure rock & roll chestnuts as well as their own unique originals. It is finger snappin', foot tappin', thigh slappin', hand clappin' good time music that gets you movin' and groovin'.
The RHYTHM COMBO was formed in the fall of 2001 when Otis and Juxo started performing in Rhode Island nightspots as a duo. Juxo plays electric and acoustic piano and accordion. Otis plays his electric fender stratocaster guitar and harmonicas. They both sing lead vocals and harmonies. The COMBO is a reunion of sorts . . .
The two musicians first hooked up over the production of the FLYING DITCHDIGGERS' debut recording Still a Kid at Heart in 1991, which sold thousands of copies and generated considerable local airplay. On the recording, Otis played a harmonica solo on the Jimmy Warren song Mister Whiskey, Mark Cutler lent his considerable lead guitar talents to the mix, and Juxo shared songwriting and lead singing credits with Dan Lilley. The band, a group of Rhode Island musicians and songwriters, went on to become something of a RI club institution, playing an acoustic/electric combination of American roots music and originals. There are current rumblings of a Still a Kid at Heart reissue on CD.
Otis went on to manage the Wetlands Nightclub in NYC, and the two kept in touch. When Otis moved to Italy in 1997, he would return stateside to perform at least once a year at NYC's The Bitter End, where Juxo would join him onstage with accordion and keyboard. When Otis returned to RI, it was inevitable that they would make more music together, even if just for fun. The MO'JO RHYTHM COMBO was waiting to happen . . .
John "Juxo" DiTomasso is a Rhode Island born and bred institution. He was something of an Accordion prodigy at 13 years old. He taught the instrument to help pay his way through college before he turned to guitar and singing lead in the punk band Mumbling Skulls. In the past few years, Juxo has concentrated more on the piano with tremendous results. He voice has a warm barroom "rasp" and he is a memorable live performer with an ability to connect immediately with the audience.
Otis explains, "Juxo and I share a common interest in songs and the whole business of song publshing. From classic American tunes that run stylistically from Blues, to Jazz, R&B, Country to early Rock, to Tin Pan Alley, to contemporary songwriting." The influence shows through in the RHYTHM COMBO's repertoire of both originals and covers. "Our song list pays off in our ability to handle any setting from clubs, weddings, coffee houses, nursing homes, elementary schools, art galleries. We have a great time in any situation."
The MO'JO RHYTHM COMBO covers tunes written by Tom Waits, Amos Millburn, Chuck Berry, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, and Carl Perkins just to name a few. The band members include Steve Leper on Bass, Tommy Casso on Clarinet, Flute and Saxes, and a rotating "as needed" membership of additional drummers, guitarists, percussionists, etc.
You can arrange to hear them perform by putting your name on the mailing list, or by referring to the schedule link on the Otis Read Web site. Thanks for checking us out. Now go get that MO'JO workin'!

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