Wanna get your dance party groove going? A good place to start is with “Mojo Nectar,” a new reggae-heavy CD by the band of the same name. Vineyard builder and woodworker Stephen Hart, previously the drummer and vocalist with the Island-based world music rock band the Ululators, assembled the group from a selection of seasoned musical buddies.
It was five years ago when Jeff Kennedy, former guitarist for the reggae band Lambs Bread and now owner of a store called Foreign Cargo in Kent, Conn., recognized Mr. Hart as the former Ululator drummer when Hart walked into his store. The two bands played the same stages at concerts in the late ’80s and early ’90s, and toured together side by side opening for Phish, the Wailers, Third World, and Taj Mahal.
The conversation resulted in the formation of a band, their first in almost 20 years, with other Connecticut-based friends, all seasoned musicians who would meet at a studio Mr. Hart built at his off-Island home in the Berkshires.
Mr. Hart said work on the CD began in earnest two years ago. “The last year we had a 6,000-square-foot old factory building to rehearse in,” Mr. Hart said. “We could all drive into it. We had a stage set up. It was really great.”
Mojo Nectar played several shows this past spring and summer, including the music festival Spring for Sound in Millerton, N.Y., the Sunset Music Series and a CD release party at the Colonial Theatre in Canaan, Conn., and Concerts on the Lawn in Kent, Conn.
In addition to Mr. Hart and Mr. Kennedy, Mojo Nectar includes Rob Daalhuyzen, a bass player and vocalist who first played with Mr. Hart over 30 years ago. He has performed with the bands Swamp Yankee, Spontaneous Combustion Band, and North of Forty. Annie Roarke adds soulful saxophone and flute to the mix. Guitarist and vocalist Tim Hochstetter is an exceptional glass and metal artist in his other career. Keyboard player Scott Bricher has played with bands since the seventies, most recently with a group called Muddy Paws. He currently works as an artist for Mad Magazine. He also created the CD cover art. Special guest Gino Zenobia plays percussion and congas on the CD.
Mr. Hart said the group does not have a goal to become a full-time traveling band. “Our intention is to do festivals and larger nightclubs,” Mr. Hart said. “We are not a small bar band.” He said Mojo Nectar is unlikely to play on the Vineyard except perhaps at outdoor shows. “It’s unfortunate that there is really no place for a large band to play indoors on the Vineyard anymore,” he said. “We are getting a lot of radio play on the new Island radio station, WYOB.” WYOB, 105.5, broadcasts from Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. It is a nonprofit station established to teach high school students broadcasting skills.