Live Review: Horojo Trio

Malainey’s  Long Beach, CA

Contact: Karin Johnson - [email protected]

Web: horojotrio.com

Players: Jeff Rogers, keys, vocals; JW Jones, guitar; Jamie Holmes, drums 

Material: Pulling songs from their latest album, Set The Record, as well as a handful of fantastically reinterpreted covers, soulful brothers-in-blues Horojo Trio (their name taken from the first two letters of each of their surnames) unveiled an unbelievable almost two-hour set of phenomenal blues. Humble, appreciative, and very present, their easy, relaxed demeanor opened the room to receive what can only be described as musical magic.

Musicianship: From their show opener, “Man of Steel,” the group set the bar high with their solid grooves and masterful interplay. Their cover of Bonnie Rait t’s “Love Sneaking Up On You” delivered fabulous vocals and a perfectly blended drive. “Stay Crazy” brought a slower waterside-feeling groove and great vocal harmonies between all three performers, while “The Night” revealed mind-blowing taffy guitar perfection from JW Jones and even more baddass vocal delivery from Jeff Rogers for overall gooey tense perfection. 

Performance: Having met during a chance jam session years ago, the energetic dynamic and musical connection of this threesome is delicious. “Set The Record Straight” felt like a funky retro, syncopated, tight-grooving jam. Their cover of Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Help Me” showcased a rimshot shuffle from Jamie Holmes (whose skills were also showcased in the kickass drum intro for “Something You Should Know”), and he possesses an incredible fatback sound. The band shared a musical buffet that added slow grinding blues and gospel moments with rocking guitar solos, killer vocals, and gorgeous harmonies dotted throughout the performance. 

Summary: Horojo’s stellar rendition of “Screamin’ Jay” Hawkins’ “I Put A Spell On You”—adding a fabulous dark drive and sexy vocals—was appropriately spellbinding, and they rounded out the night with “Real Deal” as part of their encore. The group showed a great use of dynamics and drama, a cool turnaround bridge, and a switch from a driving shuffle to a swampy, grinding guitar feature that pulled on the tempo and melodic voicings to stretch out the overall tension for the listener. Appearing overall as a massively skillful, intuitive artistic collaboration, Horojo Trio shared clear moments of bliss as they performed for an engaged crowd. Horojo Trio presents a gifted and finely tuned musical machine.