Winter Park / Live Music: Tao Jones ‘the path’ to the dance floor |

Winter Park / Live Music: Tao Jones ‘the path’ to the dance floor

by Cyndi Palmer
Sky-Hi Daily News

Tao, from the eastern philosophy Taoism is “basically undefinable,” said Sean Mahaffey, bassist for The Tao Jones and one of its earliest members. “It has to be experienced.” At times, he said, they follow “strict musical forms and at others we are loose form altogether. We exhibit both musical tightness and looseness. For, what would tight sections be without loose ones?”

Mahaffey joined a jazz band that a friend formed for his senior recital which evolved into The Tao Jones. The band, which puts on a free concert Friday at the Winter Park Pub, is lead by a horn section of Jake Ball on trumpet and Danny Meyer on saxophone, blended artfully together with Mahaffey, guitarist Christian Mockett, and drummer Zack Scott, one of the newest members of the band.

Ball was sitting in with some new friends he made shortly after his move to Colorado when he met Mahaffey at a small venue in Boulder. Coincidentally, The Tao Jones had just lost its trumpet player and one week later Ball learned the music and joined up for the band’s first headlining show at the Fox Theatre in Boulder. He also plays keyboards and believes the instrument “to be a backbone in music on many levels.”

Scott said he met the other guys after he responded to an ad for a drummer on Craig’s List. Meyer knew Ball through music school at the University of Colorado.

Mockett, one of the oldest members of the group, just graduated from the Naropa University in Boulder, a Buddhist-based school that focuses on meditative practices in conjunction with the arts. He was in town last weekend playing with Bola Abimbola.

The Tao Jones band of today has really been together for just over a half year, Ball said, “and we are better than ever.”

Scott said he’s sure each current member has been in and out of Winter Park at some point, but this will be the first time he and the band will get to play together in the resort town. Meyer, who’s in Brazil to study the culture and music there, is the only member who won’t make the show.

The band plays mostly instrumental jams with electronica influences.

“We’re kind of a funky dance band,” he said, “with a lot of different elements. Our music is a mix up of diversity.”

Scott said there’s also some tunes with Latin and jazz styles and hip-hop beats, with drum, dance and house grooves.

“Over the top of that,” he explained, “there’s the layering of the horns and keys, which makes for a good sound.”

Their music is energetic, “horn-driven dance music that will take you on a ride through multiple genres of music leaving the minds of audience members at awe with the smooth but edgy, tight but loose, complicated but simply enjoyable sound produced by The Tao Jones,” Mahaffey said. “If that’s not Taoist I don’t know what is.”

“Our goal is to make you feel a number of different emotions with our music,” Mahaffey added, “but the whole time you will be dancing and having a blast because that’s what we’re going to be doing on stage.”

Scott agrees. “Dancing’s healthy for the soul,” he said, “and that’s what we try to provide every night ” To get ’em up and movin’. We’re real excited and hope we get a good turnout. We’re going to rock Winter Park ” give ’em something to dance about,” he said. “We put on a good show. You’ll get up and dance and have a good time because we bring a good time with us.”

In addition to working with their new female vocalist, the band is in the process of putting together a live compilation album. It is expected out after the new year, so the band, Scott said, can “hit the new year with a full head of steam.”

Until then, catch them in Winter Park. To check out more photos, visit

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