Jocko MacNelly is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger and teacher.
At any given moment, he is as likely to break into a calypso tune as to be writing a choral arrangement of an African soukous song. Though he considers the Blues and Soul Music to be his “base camp,” he takes great joy in covering a range of styles: Jazz, R & B, calypso, reggae, Afro-Cuban, country, bluegrass, various styles from Brazil and Africa, Arab and Jewish music, along with European classical music from all periods.
His instrumental versatility and expertise are equally as far-ranging: from playing electric bass with an R&B band or accompanying jazz singers on guitar or string bass, to playing banjo with the Cafe Accordion Orchestra.
Jocko studied jazz guitar in grade school, then pursued classical guitar through high school and college, after which he found himself playing electric bass with a reggae band on a cruise ship. After fifteen years spent playing and teaching in the lively Richmond, VA music scene, he became part of the richly diverse cultural milieu of Minneapolis/St Paul. Along the way, he has recorded soundtracks, jingles and albums, as well as writing and arranging music in many genres.
He has performed with such diverse talents as Billy Eckstine, Lou Donaldson, Phyllis Diller, Archie Bell, A House of Freaks, the Richmond (Va.) Symphony, Carter Beauford and Tim Reynolds. Since 1981, Jocko has been teaching in colleges and universities, both in the classroom and to instrumental students of bass and guitar. He now makes his home in Philadelphia.
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