Trumpeter John D'earth earned his stripes working with the likes of Hornsby, Dave Matthews Band, Buddy Rich, Thad Jones, Mel Lewis, and Miles Davis and Quincy Jones at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1991. Saxophonist and woodwind maestro Bobby Read has shared the stage with Jones & Leva and John McCutcheon and currently tours and records with Hornsby. The final piece of this kaleidoscopic puzzle is guitarist and bassist Tim Kobza, who has graced works byJon B., Kenny Blake, and Joe McBride. Together they shine on ModeReko, their self-titled debut on Blue Thumb Records.
Molo, D'earth, and Read met while playing with Bruce Hornsby, where the rough idea for ModeReko came together. As D'earth recalls, "John Molo and I used to hang out on the bus and jam. Bobby would join us, and we'd all just play together." He continues, "Molo talked about wanting to have a band that would be groove oriented, and you'd just write up from the drum part-all inclusive music that's both improvised and composed and draws no barriers as to what kind of sources it can draw from."
With this in mind, Molo laid down some tracks with Kobza, a longtime friend, at the end of `97 on the West coast. "We started getting together to jam and write grooves," remembers Kobza, who subsequently shipped the unfinished product out to D'earth and Read in Charlottesville, Virginia. "The germ of what [Molo and Kobza] wrote was so open-ended it would be hard to even call them songs in a way," admits D'earth. "There was plenty of room to add songs or to put stuff on top; that's what was so cool about what they did." After several sessions at Read's in-house studio, the tunes were complete and mixing was finished.