The New Cool: Making And Remaking Music With Mocean Worker

Jan 20, 2017

Born and raised in soulful '70s Philadelphia, Adam Dorn’s father, Joel, was producing hits for Atlantic Records for Roberta Flack, Simon & Garfunkel, John Coltrane and George Benson to name a few.

Bass was Adam’s first instrument, and at age 15 he sent a fan letter to Miles Davis’ bass player, Marcus Miller, who invited the young man to hang out in his recording studio. One visit turned into three years, and eventually a degree from the prestigious Berklee College of Music.

Soon, he adopted the Mocean Worker moniker for his work as a DJ and producer, focusing on thick, soulful rhythms and combining jazz chops with hip-hop beats, sometimes called "electro-swing."

His albums, beginning in the late '90s, are a perfect combination for a bass player and producer: tightly edited riffs and rhythms in a groove-soaked setting. The inspiration, though, has always been informed by the jazz legends that surrounded him as a young musician.

In a 2007 interview with NPR, Dorn said, “I don’t know that I necessarily make jazz, but I might make jazzy music.”

On today’s episode of The New Cool, we’ll hear Mocean Worker’s collaboration with trumpeter Steven Bernstein, “Shooby Shooby Do Ya!,” as well as a remix he did of “Blues for Harry Bosch” by the young sax star Grace Kelly.

Electronic music doesn’t get much closer to jazz than this.

The New Cool airs Saturdays at 3:00 p.m. The program is hosted by Abe Beeson and produced by KNKX Public Radio in Seattle, Wash.