Press What's A MoFone?

Voted Best Jazz Group in the East Bay Express Readers' Poll 2008 and 2012

East Bay Express. Best of the East Bay Winner '08.

Nominated for Best Funk Band, 2008 SF Weekly Music Awards

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“If Mo'Fone doesn't blow your socks off, you're not paying attention.”

- Jim Nelson (

Picking over my review of my first encounter with Mo'Fone way back in 2002, I come across this bone-grating comparison: “I mistook one piece as a cover of 'Pick Up the Pieces' without all that Average White Band aftertaste.” I'm compelled to apologize to Mo'Fone for this mistake because, in hindsight, I see it's so patronizing. Last year's release of Surf's Up proves this jazz trio is a powerhouse to be reckoned with. These ten tracks are fresh and relevant and outrageously great. Read more...

“Snaps and crackles like James Brown's Famous Flames mixed with a New Orleans second line.”

- George Harris (

Here’s a band that has a concept that is so simple, it’s simply radical! Bay area altoist Larry De La Cruz, baritonist Jim Peterson and drummer Jeremy Steinkoler have put together a formidable and funky trio that snaps and crackles like James Brown’s Famous Flames mixed with a New Orleans Second Line. Peterson’s rich molasses riffs mix with Steinkoler’s incessant beat while De La Cruz solos like Maceo Parker on infectious tunes like “Wiggle” and “Say What”. Read more...

“Mo’Fone brings the grease.”

- Jazziz

Following in the footsteps of another raucous Bay Area horn band, Tower of Power, Mo’Fone brings the grease on its new recording, Sling Shot (Evander). Yet Mo’Fone manages to get that huge sound with just three players, albeit three seasoned vets of the Bay Area jazz and blues scenes. Read more...

“Wildly Dancebale.”

- Scott Yanow, jazz author and critic
When one thinks of a jazz trio, the instrumentation of alto sax, baritone sax and drums does not come immediately to mind. And when one thinks of a funk group, it is not unusual to imagine a band with electric bass, guitar and keyboards, none of which are regular parts of Mo’Fone.

Mo’Fone is a truly unique group. Based in the San Francisco Bay area, they have been a major force locally for over a decade. Drummer Jeremy Steinkoler is equally at home playing New Orleans second line rhythms as he is setting rock, funk and r&b grooves. Altoist Larry De La Cruz has a rich tone and can play both soulfully and with adventure a la John Coltrane. Baritonist Jim Peterson has a particularly significant role in that he alternates between playing basslines (such as Hamiet Bluiett did in the World Saxophone Quartet), harmonies with De La Cruz, and exciting solos of his own.

On ‘Fonology, Mo’Fone is joined by guests on four of the 11 selections. Sousaphonist Kirk Joseph is a major asset on two songs, one of which also includes trombonist Marty Wehner. Stephen Kent plays didgeridoo and percussion on the mysterious sounding Mid-Eastern “That & The Other” while tenor-saxophonist Danny Bittker joins the fun on his “Danny’s Tune.” Other than “Danny’s Tune,” all of the selections are originals by the three band members.

Fun is a constant throughout these wildly danceable selections. Imagine if the World Saxophone Quartet met up with a marching band or if James Brown grew up in New Orleans. The two saxophones often riff together when not soloing, Steinkoler relentlessly drives the group and no other band’s ensembles sound like Mo’Fone. The 11 selections on ‘Fonology, the group’s third CD, contain plenty of variety in their tempos, moods and grooves while keeping the music funky, adventurous, accessible and just plain fun.

“A powerhouse sound that is both fun and downright mesmerizing.”

- Len Comaratta, (Consequence of Sound)

Hailing from the Bay Area, Mo’Fone has been teasin’ and pleasin’ audiences up and down the Left Coast for the better part of a decade, most recently at this year’s Monterey Jazz Festival. Continually voted as a top draw by both fans and critics, including Best Jazz Group in a 2008 East Bay Readers’ Poll, Mo’Fone returns the love by delivering a powerhouse sound that is both fun and downright mesmerizing. Read more...

“The album’s a flat-out party.”

- Carl Abernathy, (Cahl's Juke Joint, jazz blog)

Mo’Fone’s “Rock of Ages,” a song on the band’s new album, “Sling Shot,” affected me as much as any song I’ve heard in a long time. As the son of aging parents, I can relate to the feelings drummer Jeremy Steinkoler must have had when he wrote it for his father, who died in 2002 — I almost lost my mother on Christmas Day a few years ago. Read more...

“Mo'Fone puts the fun back in funk.”

- Bill Milkowski, (JazzTimes)

Mo’Fone, the San Francisco-based trio of alto saxophonist Larry De La Cruz, baritone saxophonist Jim Peterson and drummer Jeremy Steinkoler, puts the fun back in funk. Steinkoler slams with authority while the horns intertwine in syncopated fashion on party numbers like “Wiggle,” “Sling Shot” and “Seven Evan.” Sousaphone ace and Dirty Dozen founder Kirk Joseph guests on the funereal “Rock of Ages,” while tenorman Dann Zinn blends on a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Fool in the Rain.” Read more...

"Mo'Freedom, Mo'Fun."

- Lee Hildebrand (East Bay Express)

When the bass player didn't show up for a trio gig at Cato's Ale House seven years ago, drummer Jeremy Steinkoler and alto saxophonist Jim Peterson found themselves in something of a jam. To fill out the group's sound, leader Steinkoler phoned a friend who lived nearby, baritone saxophonist Larry De La Cruz. A bari ain't exactly a bass, but it's range was close enough for jazz. Read more...

“What's up? The fabulously jazzy 'Surf's Up,' that's what.”

- Andy Gilbert (Contra Costa Times)

My favorite album of the year by far is 'Surf's Up' (Evander Music) by the extraordinary trio Mo'Fone, an East Bay band featuring drummer Jeremy Steinkoler and saxophonists Larry De La Cruz and Jim Peterson, who alternate on alto and baritone. I was hooked from the first track, a buoyant, almost giddy version of Weather Report's 'Black Market,' with De La Cruz's surging bari replacing Jaco Pastorius' lithe basswork. Read more...

“In a word, Mo'Fone delivers.”

- Jim Nelson (

“The first Friday night of every month, The San Jose Museum of Modern Art hosts live music. The audience is a strange brew: young hipsters, brie-and-Chard museumgoers, dating retirees, and everyone in between. Even a few jazz fans show up. If they came at the beginning of May for Mo'Fone, they left more than impressed. Read more...

“One of the hottest bands to surface in a long while.”


Jeremy Steinkoler has been an active participant on the Bay Area jazz scene for more than a decade, collaborating with a wide array of players, including guitarists Adam Levy and Andre Bush. He started making a name for himself as a leader with his hard-swinging quartet. Read more...

“Mo’Fone — distilling the essence of funk.”

-Andrew Gilbert (

When it comes to funk, less is often more. The band Mo'Fone puts that insight into insistently syncopated practice on just about every piece. Led by El Cerrito drummer Jeremy Steinkoler, Mo'Fone, which performs a late set Friday at Michael Parayno's singular Birdland Jazzista Social Club, is a stripped down combo featuring Larry De La Cruz on alto sax, clarinet and flute and Jim Peterson on baritone sax and bass clarinet.

Veteran reed players with extensive jazz and R&B credits, they seamlessly shift roles on each tune, sliding from riffing support to propulsive solos. Somehow, the trio captures the kinetic power and sonic punch of a funk horn section and a brass band, but distilled to its essence... Read more...

“Who'd have thought such groove-based, funky, swinging jazz with great solos could be produced... on two saxes and drums?”

-Ian Patterson (

It must be challenging for Mo’Fone to secure gigs and, no doubt, many a venue refused them once the trio explained its lineup as two saxes and drums. It’s a setup sure to suggest an avant-garde trip or vaudeville novelty outing but the music on Sling Shot is, in fact, both tremendously listenable and serious.. Read more...

“Mo'Fone achieves a mighty big sound on its debut release.”

- Lee Hildebrand (SF Bay Guardian)

From the streets of Soweto to those of New Orleans on Mardi Gras day, Mo'Fone takes a delightful, decidedly different romp through the musical riches of the African diaspora. The group's approach falls somewhere between those of the World Saxophone Quartet and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, but its instrumentation is more minimal than either. Read more...

“A very strong, fun CD that will remain in my car for the rest of the summer.”

- Joe Doherty (

“As the title would seem to suggest, Mo'Fone has created a very upbeat summertime compact disc. Comprised from what would seem to be a Donald Fagan dream, Mo'Fone is lead by two remarkable saxophone players (who also play clarinets and flutes on select tracks) and an enjoyably funky drummer. Read more...

“A Minimal but Mighty Romp!”

- East Bay Express

“Jazz musician hitting stride as two groups play Yoshi's.”

- Andy Gilbert (Contra Costa Times)

Maintaining one distinctive band is an impressive feat for a jazz musician Developing two simultaneous projects that boast signature sounds and repertoires is the mark of a player hitting his or her stride as a creative force. Which is why I'm going to catch East Bay drummer Jeremy Steinkoler when he sprints into Yoshi's on Aug. 25, leading two of the most exciting small acoustic combos on the scene. Read more...

“Sure to gain wider recognition.”

- John Stevenson (

“Mo'Fone sounds like a furious detachment of the Tower of Power horns. It's no surprise that the disc was recorded in Oakland, California. This curious line-up of baritone and alto sax and drums cuts across a broad swathe of grooves (Cobham's “Crosswind” and Abdullah Ibrahim's “African Market” for example) and is full of meaty horn arrangements and solid stickwork. With inventive drummer Jeremy Steinkoler at the helm, the group is sure to gain wider recognition.”

“The Mighty Mo'Fone Returns.”

- SF Chronicle

“Sunday @ Anna's Jazz Island: After a long hiatus, the mighty Mo'Fone returns. Led by drummer Jeremy Steinkoler, this pugnacious trio with reed experts Larry de la Cruz and Jim Peterson swings so hard that it sounds like an ensemble twice its size.”

“One of the funkiest jazz albums you'll ever hear.”

- Carl Abernathy (Jazz Blog)

“Mo’fone’s return to the studio to record a follow-up to “Surf’s Up” is pretty good news for jazz fans. “Surf’s Up,” released in 2003, is one of the funkiest jazz albums you’ll ever hear. The band’s cover of Weather Report’s “Black Market,” which leads the album, has enthralled several of my middle-aged friends and their teenaged children. Read more...

“Spicier than ever.”

- SF Weekly

A little taste of the bayou via the Bay Area, Mo'Fone brings a tight, big-band sound influenced by New Orleans and smoothed out by its local environs. This year, the trio was voted Best Jazz Group by the East Bay Express and released a new CD, Sling Shot. The first album since the band's 2003 debut, Sling Shot finds baritone saxophonist Jim Peterson, Larry De La Cruz (who plays alto sax), and drummer Jeremy Steinkoler sounding spicier than ever.

“Upbeat jazz packed with flavor.”


Local jazz trio Mo’Fone injects groove-laden funk into its sound, resulting in a variety of upbeat jazz packed with flavor. The group mixes original compositions with a colorful array of covers, from Weather Report and John Scofield to Led Zeppelin. Sax-men Larry De La Cruz and Jim Peterson pack a one-two punch of blazing melody, while drummer Jeremy Steinkoler brings over 20 years of expertise on the kit. Voted Best Jazz Group by the 2008 East Bay Express Readers’ Poll, Mo’Fone knows how to turn a live set into an electric jazz showdown.

“Mo’Fone Jazz-Funks It Up Heavily On ‘Sling Shot’”

- Superfan (April 2011)

Git funkay. It's Saturday. And funk is all you need on a Saturday in May. Evar so funky live drums cook under a funk overloaded pot full o' sizzlin' sax. A full left and right mix between two heavy reeds players, to be exact, and no bass at all in this number. Original, tight, and did I mention, funk-ee? Mo'Fone, my kittins.

“Mo’Fone gently guides you with a musical compass that points to a land of Funk and Groove”

- Target Audience Magazine

A sign that you’ve written a good instrumental is when, at first taste, the average music listener doesn’t aurally fade away from boredom. Jazz music has been replaced with commercially produced regurgitated crap where bands see how many different ways they can write a song with the same I-V-VI-IV progression. Read more...


Inside Jazz

As featured on the cover of Jazz Inside Magazine