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Morello

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Biography

Formed in 1996 in London by Malcolm Cross. Mal had always written songs and played in bands (right back to his junior school gang ‘The Bumbos’) but Morello was his first attempt to lead and front one. Despite the cherry logo, Morello is actually a reference to his childhood hero, drummer Joe Morello (immortalised in the 1960 hit ‘Take Five’ with the Dave Brubeck Quartet.)

First incarnation of the band included Chris Johnson (keys), Mike Gibbons (guitar), Steve Maud (bass), Steve Wyndham (drums) and Dave Pryce (percussion), later replaced by Matt McLaughlin. They became mainstays of the London jazz/funk circuit at the tail end of the Acid Jazz phenomenon, regular performers at WKD, W14 and the Jazz Cafe.

Supported and encouraged early on by producer Chris Vivian, recording sessions begin in Hitchin then Acton, London. Promo LP ‘Jackpot’ released 1998 on Vivian’s own label, CDV music. Now ultra-rare (about 500 copies exist) this rough diamond showcases 9 songs with some fine band performances, augmented by lush string arrangements. Bonus track ‘Mo’ produced at the BBC with producer mates Tim Durham and Ted De Bono.

Armed with the album and a stylish promo film for ‘Insomniac Obsession’ shot by PS Films (Paul and Sonia Carter) Mal begins doing the rounds of London’s managers, bookers and record companies…to stony indifference. (Patience never was a strong point at this point in his career; ‘Waiting for it to happen’ and ‘Still Waiting’ are sample song titles from ‘Jackpot’.

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