Mo Egeston hits all the notes in busy life
Fans need a scorecard to keep up with St. Louis musician Mo Egeston these days.
Pianist/producer Egeston, who floats musically between different genres, can be heard in his groups .... Soul Alliance, and the Mo E (All-Stars &) Trio, and he also plays in the bands Brothers Lazaroff
“It’s chaos,” local MVP Egeston says of his many affiliations, which exist partly out of necessity after leaving his job teaching music appreciation at McKendree College (now University) about five years ago.
“Since walking away, I’ve had to do different things to keep food on the table.”
Also, he says, he likes “working with people who are stylistically open, and have no attitudes, no extra layers of drama. That allows me to keep it together.”
“I’m running beats through machines and creating DJ effects, and there’s elements of jazz, soul, electronica, and Latin flavor, with house as the main driving sound,” says Egeston (about his Mo E projects).
Soul Alliance pairs him up with R&B singer Coco Soul, and came about after his agent at Talent Plus suggested he start a new outfit that could play everything from the casino circuit to corporate gigs and special events.
“What we’re trying to do is encompass the whole world of dance, with club classics. But we’re (also) adding more rock to our sound,” he says.
His Mo E Trio lets him do jazz, soul, house, ambient and more within the context of a small trio. As keyboardist for the Brothers Lazaroff, he dabbles in Americana music including roots, reggae, and folk.
All this juggling is nothing new for Egeston, who started his music career locally in 1995 when his Invincible Groov worked as the house band at the Green Room nightclub. He describes Invincible Groov as a party band who could “take Hendrix and put it to a funk groove.”
After the club decided to go in different directions musically, Egeston became part of the original lineup of the popular Vargas Swing. “We were fortunate enough to do an album and get out on the road,” he says of the original lineup that would last until 1999, when members began dropping off.
“People in the band were getting a lot of calls because they were great,” he says.
Egeston continued the Vargas brand with Dawn Weber (and continued later with) Urban Jazz Naturals, which allowed them to dig deeper into their love of club music. Mo & Dawn became a catch-all for all they were doing.
Egeston, who teaches private lessons at his Egeston Piano Studio, started off as a classical player but says “the electronica world has been the most influential on my personal style. Every day I’m discovering something, and I’m a student of whatever situation I happen to be in.”
Mo Egeston, Sundays at Lola.
Get more information at www.moegeston.com and www.welovelola.com.
Give 'Em What They Need
Give 'Em What They Need is the third record by Brothers Lazaroff, and with each release Jeff and David Lazaroff add more soul and more brave experimentation to their rootsy music. Credit the Brothers' instrumentalists — bassist Teddy Brookins, drummer Grover Stewart and keyboardist Mo Egeston — who make their recording debut on this album. Each musician brings a malleable but distinct flavor to the group, especially Egeston. A long-time vet of this city's funk and electro scenes, he adds immense color and texture to these songs, often in unexpected places. His churning Hammond organ chops are fairly straight-forward on the twangy, rambling "Run with the Horses," but the light, airy analog synth line that hovers overhead adds the right amount of spacey ambiance. Later, on "Feels So Nice," his harmonic intervals on the Wurlitzer electric piano gently punctuate the loping rhythm and meditative vocals.
Brothers Lazaroff broke the tension with a short but stellar set that began with gorgeous vocal harmonies on "Watch Me Fall" before sliding into an Uncle Tupelo-friendly take on "I Wanna Be Your Dog." More polished than the Stooges' original and the UT cover, the song didn't lack the raw sexuality of its predecessors. Mo Egeston's understated, slinky keyboards added a smidge of funk, making the song theirs.
The brothers and company took a break from their instruments to open the Carter Family's "No Depression" a cappella, and motioned for the audience to join them in song. For the first time all night, the sold-out crowd quieted, then joined the band in what morphed into a spiritual ceremony of voices, anchored with the organ and stomps of a country church. Leaving a world of toil and trouble for a place of light and joy, be it heaven or a music venue where a seminal local band played twenty years ago ... the Brothers Lazaroff escorted the crowd to that place where music brings people together and leaves them slack-jawed and emotionally spent.
This year, the brothers decided to bring it all back home to St. Louis (they grew up in Creve Coeur) and have put together one of the more striking, tight and steady bands in town, in keyboardist Mo Egeston, drummer Grover Stewart and bassist Teddy Brookins. The veterans of the funk, jazz, drum & bass, swing and world-music scenes in town had never played with singer-songwriters before, but they've radically altered the Lazaroffs' sound. The trio adds muscle to the rhythms, expands arrangements with funk and jazz, and grooves without ever descending into aimless jams — all while daring the brothers to jump out of their literate, open-ended songwriting skins.
The band was gathered via MySpace after the sessions for American Artifact, starting with Stewart. Brookins was cherry-picked from Stewart's friends list, and Egeston, whom the brothers first saw playing the keytar with Lamar Harris at the Delmar Restaurant & Lounge, came onboard last. "We're all from St. Louis," Jeff says. "And that gives us that thump, that driving, live sound. Our stuff can be done so rootsy, but we'd rather destroy it a little bit."
Brothers Lazaroff were the third St. Louis band of the afternoon, and they had the tightest rhythm section, playing a short, country rock set of originals and a Townes Van Zandt cover, "White Freightliner," to close out.
This 4-piece jazz/soul/house ensemble from St. Louis delivers one of the best tunes of the year... All the lounges will be bobbin' to this one. Gonna be major!
(UJN's "How Can I")...perfect for a nighttime, poolside soiree, even in the winter.
Werewolves of St. Louis: Warren Zevon Tribute 10/23/2009
Brothers Lazaroff followed with “Dirty Life and Times” and then a biting and genuinely howling “Werewolves of London” and “Disorder in the House.” Keyboardist Mo Egeston brought the noise and drummer Grover Stewart the funk.