Mario Moya is from Mexico City, an Electronics & Communications engineer and a Real Music person. Growing up in a family of Jazz, Soul and Funk lovers, he soon became a connaisseur. This applies to other genres too, including Brazilian music. When Mario was a kid, he did listen to one of the greatest radio stations ever: “Jazz FM 104.1” in Mexico City was founded by Roberto Morales in 1979, a decade before Europeans “invented” that kind of radio station, and used the same name. The original “Jazz FM”, which was transmitting out of the Torre Latínoamericano, the highest building in Mexico City at the time, was an excellent Real Music source, back then in the days, as well as the legendary station Estereo 100 WFM. Mario also produces and plays Jazz-Funk, House and Dance music and he used to produce a music podcast called MusicMonday. Imanuel Marcus spoke to Mario about Real Music and collector’s items.
Magazine79: How do you remember the shows Roberto Morales presented on Jazz FM 104.1? Do you remember a few tunes you heard on his station first? Which ones?
Mario Moya: I definitely remember the unique style of Roberto Morales’ presentation very well. His voice was very thick and serious, but friendly at the same time. The audience enjoyed his broadcasts a lot. And his words were always full of knowledge and enthusiasm for Jazz. When I refer to Jazz, I mean all flavors of it. That’s what made it a unique station. His playlists offered a wide range, from old school Jazz and newcomers to the craziest and most genuine Jazz Fusion styles you can imagine. He used to travel to the United States, in order to meet with other Jazz experts and musicians. His goal was to update his material and knowledge base. I had the opportunity to meet him a few years before he passed away. A very interesting character, for sure. Some of the songs I remember right now, that I heard on “Jazz FM 104.1” were El Debarge’s “Someone Just Like Me”, Al Jarreau’s “Alonzo” or “You are my Starship” by Norman Connors, featuring Michael Henderson. He played it all. Grover Washington Jr., Mike Stern, Chick Corea, Max Groove, Sam Cardon and so forth. Well, I could even do a podcast with a list coming to my mind right now. There was always superb music, on that station, and great jingles.
Magazine79: What is the Real Music situation in Mexico, regarding local bands, these days? Are there good Mexican Funk, Soul, Fusion or Jazz bands which would have regular gigs in the Distrito Federal?
Mario Moya: Well it has been like 10 years since that new generations of musicians in Mexico have tried to raise some funk projects and the movement is growing big. However, we can’t consider it as a mainstream movement yet. There are very few venues who would book such acts and the money they get from the gigs is really bad. That’s the reason why good musicians in Mexico don’t last too long, doing these underground funky projects. That’s shameful because decent cultural levels will only reach small audiences in a country of 120 million people. That sucks! Besides, I have to say that many of them are more Funk-Rock oriented, rather than leaning towards Jazz-Funk or soulful funky music. We try to do that kind of stuff with my own project, in which we feature talent from all over the world, and of course from Mexico itself. But I still applaud the effort put in by these groups and musicians, who try to do something different from the average stuff we hear in Mexico all fucking day long on the radio, on mainstream concerts or even in nightclubs.
Magazine79: Looking back, there was a killer Fusion act called Sacbé. Have you seen them live? What do you remember?
Mario Moya: I didn’t have the privilege to see Sacbé live. The original project members were the Toussaint brothers, a family dynasty of acclaimed virtuoso musicians who decided to create this concept full of Jazz Fusion and very interesting music aspects that made them have a unique sound. You could tell it was an elite level of musicianship surrounding the group but also you could notice the Mexican sound in their compositions and performances. I had the opportunity to see some former Sacbé members, as guests of other cool Mexican Jazz projects, mostly at the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo. Talent has no expiration date! I can guarantee you that.
Magazine79: If you had a quiet morning right now, and if you could choose to listen to any album ever recorded, which one would it be? And why?
Mario Moya: Chick Corea’s “Eye of the Beholder”. It has so many beautiful compositions and arrangements that I can’t get tired listening to it, not even after so many years. The music has the most amazing passages. So, I like to listen to it when I’m at peace and I can enjoy the details of every instrumentalist is playing. Musically, this album is one of my favorite masterpieces. I recommend it to everyone.
Magazine79: What does your collection look like? Is most of it jazz, or funky? Give us a short introduction of your CDs, LPs and digital archive. What is represented?
Mario Moya: Well, I can say that my collection is really balanced, maybe a bit more oriented to jazz but not by far. I have all Barry White’s albums or at least I can say almost every one. What else is there? Earth, Wind and Fire, George Duke, Stevie Wonder, George Benson, Isaac Hayes, Boz Scaggs, Santana, Chick Corea, Al Jarreau, Gino Vannelli, Stan Getz, Ellis Regina, Idris Muhammad, Tania Maria, Doc Severinsen, Tribal Tech, Scott Henderson, Incognito, Sergio Mendes, Chuck Mangione, Simply Red, Frank Potenza, Ed Motta, Level 42, Manhattan Transfer, Chaka Khan, Shakatak, Marion Meadows, Brand New Heavies, Luther Vandross, Fattburger, just to name a few.
Magazine79: Let’s test your music archive in mean way. Do you have “A Sleeping Beauty” by Frank Potenza? It’s a contemporary Jazz guitar piece. What do you think of it?
Mario Moya: Of course I have it and I used to play that song really nicely some years ago. It’s a beautiful composition from him. He’s one of my guitar idols! He currently is a guitar professor at some university in Europe, I believe. The man is awesome.
Magazine79: Damn. That’s impressive. Let’s try another, even meaner one: Quazar, “Shades of Quaze”. We got you on that one, didn’t we?
Mario Moya: Hahaha. You got me brother, but right now I’m looking at YouTube and I love it. I like the whole sequence and the electric pianos.
Magazine79: The recent loss of George Duke, Maurice White and other genius composers and producers is a big blow to Real Music. Sure, their music lives on. But, who do you think are their heirs? Which living musicians are the driving force in real music today?
Mario Moya: That’s a tough question given the fact that we also recently lost Prince. I dare to say that the last living genius is Stevie Wonder. However, I also say that Jean-Paul Maunick is their successor. He’s a fucking genius of our era. But, making someone the successor of Maurice White or George Duke is pretty hard. There are talented composers, musicians, producers like the Louie Vega from Masters at Work, who is on a very high level as producer. Or, there are artists or composers like Esperanza Spalding, Ed Motta from Brazil, or even Cee Lo Green, who are walking the right path in music.
Magazine79: What are your three favourite albums of all time? A why?
Mario Moya: Tough call, because our favorite albums change, depending on the stage of our lives we are in. But, I could mention Earth Wind & Fire’s “I Am”, George Duke’s “Close to You” or “Brother to Brother” by Gino Vannelli. Spectacular albums for sure! Thanks so much for such entertaining interview. It has been my pleasure, brother.
Magazine79: No, thank YOU, Mario! Muchas gracias, hermano. Que tengas buen dia con tu familia y con el sonido que nos gusta.