Friday Evening Jazz: Mocean Worker

This morning on the train, a boatload of tourists, screaming kids in tow, filled the seats near me.

This always raises a challenging musical question as to how to proceed. It’s early in the morning, and I’m reading the papers (NYT & WSJ). I sometimes find it distracting to play loud music that might overpower the rugrats if it also comes with lyrics — especially those I tend to sing along with internally (Hey Hey Mama, say the way you move, gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove)

Jazz is much more appropriate for that hour of the day, but with the screaming munchkins in the background, the quiet musical moments and soft passages get punctuated by shrill shrieks. Not what you want here during mellow interludes at that hour of the morning.

Fortunately, I flipped on Mocean Worker (pronounced M’Ocean Worker) this morning.

It’s kinda hard to describe exactly what genre this music is: It’s definitely jazz-based, but layered and looped with various electronica and horn section instrumentation. There are elements of funk, big-band and swing. It’s loud, foot-tappingly rhythmic, smooth jazz, and best of all, there are no soft passages on Cinco de Mowo. Genre wise, I would say it falls somewhere between Electronica and  Jazz — call it Nu-Jazz. The beats are inventive and the samples are creatively applied.

The album pictured above is Cinco de Mowo, and its particularly raucous. Its my favorite of his 5 discs; Enter the Mowo is mellower, with both Jazz and World music cuts, but also interesting.

NPR notes that Mocean Worker is Adam Dorn (and sometimes "Mowo"), who comes with a fabled jazz pedigree. He’s the son of famed record producer Joel Dorn (Roberta Flack, John Coltrane, Leon Redbone), and he grew up around the jazz and R&B discs his father produced for Atlantic Records in the ’60s and ’70s.

One Amazon reviewer noted: "He’s out to make good-time, danceable, jazz-influenced tunes. If they act as a jazz gateway drug, all the better."

The bottom line: Its fun stuff — enjoy!

Official Website

Mocean Worker: Old Jazz Meets New Producer

My Space Page


The first video is a fabulous bit if animation, to the tune of Shake Your Boogie; The second clip shows Adam doing his things on a Powerbook using Recycle. 

Shake Your Boogie

Mocean Worker – Remixing the King of Rock n’ Roll

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What's been said:

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  1. Carl commented on Jun 6

    Dude…Crazy, shizzle.

    Barry, I read your blog daily and appreciate all that you post for the masses…but this! This is mind-boggling…Thanks for turning me on!

  2. schaz commented on Jun 6


    The second video is amazing!!

    Music Non-Stop Electro Pop


  3. dano commented on Jun 6

    still waiting for you to discover Horace
    Silver, Barry. This is some fun stuff,
    but I would definitely put it more into
    a club/acid jazz category.

  4. RJ commented on Jun 6

    I hate to be the “nothing beats their first album” guy in the room but…

    nothing beats Mocean Worker’s first album…

    ‘Home Movies from the BrainForest’ was an absolutely sick execution of jungle and jazz that held a lot of promise for future excellence. After aural & hardy he decided on a new route for his music which I personally never found as compelling…. A little too intentional a stab at a party album that fell short of the creativity other producers (avalanches ‘since i met you’, lo fidelity allstars ‘on the floor at the boutique’) were showing at the time.

    Obviously it’s a subjective matter (and drum and bass hasn’t aged particularly well), but for those who like things a little darker, they might want to check this out.

  5. ddt commented on Jun 6

    wow.. just about the last thing I was expecting to see on Big Picture

    financial junglist inna place
    brap brap

  6. ReductiMat commented on Jun 7

    Barry, have you given Amon Tobin a listen-to yet?

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