The Mystic Order of the Jazz Obsessed (MOJO) begins the 17th year of its popular monthly jambalaya series with a salute to jazz fusion keyboardist George Duke. The California native rose to prominence in the late 1960s after a cousin convinced the highly educated musician and instructor to switch his focus from classical music to jazz.
It paid off in short order when Duke performed with Jean Luc-Ponty, Frank Zappa and Cannonball Adderley. The keyboardist blended elements of jazz with R&B, pop, funk and soul in the coming years and built affiliations with Jeffrey Osborne, Deniece Williams, Stanley Clarke, Al Jarreau, Anita Baker, Dianne Reeves and others.
Cedric Brooks is the featured performer and brings a powerhouse ensemble with him.
The recent permanent closure of MOJO’s traditional confines, the Gulf City Lodge (State Street Elks), means this and future MOJO shows will take place at Bernheim Hall in the Ben May Main Library (701 Government St.) for the foreseeable future.
The show takes place Jan. 28, 6:30 p.m. Entrance is $15, $12 for military/students and $10 for MOJO members.
For more information, call 251-459-2298 or go to mojojazz.org.
Midsummer move forced on MAC
The Mobile Arts Council (MAC) will depart its offices and exhibit space near the intersection of Dauphin and Claiborne streets after June 2019. MAC leadership said SMG has graciously agreed to host monthly MAC exhibitions in Room 1927 next to the Saenger Theatre’s South Joachim Street entrance.
However, MAC offices are another story.
“I’d love to stay downtown, on Dauphin Street if possible, but we’ll just have to see what comes up,” MAC Director Shellie Teague said.
Rent on the current spot is rising beyond the nonprofit’s means. The city lists the building as 9,537 square feet, with roughly 2,800 occupied by MAC. The other 6,737 square feet are already vacated.
When MAC moved there in 2005, it was owned by Bill Buchanan. City information lists the current owner as Helen Hayes Buchanan, trustee of the William G. Buchanan Residual Share Trust.
Taxes in 2005 were $3,235.96. Now they are 50 percent higher, meaning the assessed value has increased as much.
It will be hard to duplicate the advantageous spot at the hub of the city’s designated “arts district.” MAC leadership feels opportunity exists as long as unoccupied storefronts remain on or near downtown’s main drag.
“With galleries like Mobilia Arts Center closing, there’s a lot of artists that need a place to show their work, that need the representation,” Teague said.
For now, MAC is centered on selling tickets to the Arty Awards, March 28 at The Steeple (251 St. Francis St.), and affirming their positive impact.