Ashland High School grad Jesse Molloy, left, and John Staten co-founded On the One, which will open for Earth, Wind and Fire tonight at Britt.

Ashland grad performs at Britt

Tonight's show at Britt is not just another gig for Jesse Molloy. First, the 29-year-old saxophonist's band, On the One, is opening for Earth, Wind and Fire at 7:30 p.m. at the Britt Pavilion in Jacksonville.

Then there's the fact that 14 years ago, Molloy was a student at Britt's Jazz Camp, an educational program for talented teens from around the nation. This time the San Diego-based musician and his band mates will teach a master class at Jazz Camp starting at 12:15 p.m. at St. Mary's School in Medford.

"It's full circle," Molloy says of the teaching gig. "I went to it when I was 15. It was a great experience."

But wait, there's more.

"John's (John Staten, On the One's co-founder) mom, Annie, just flew in from Detroit. It's a surprise for her. The whole family is huge Earth, Wind and Fire fans. They grew up on them. It's a really big deal."

And still more.

"My mom's bringing my sister and her family from Portland," Molloy says. "It's going to be an exciting little day."

And oh yeah. Tuesday the band drove 19 hours home from Jackson Hole, Wyo., where they'd played a show.

"We're real road dogs," he says. "It's crazy."

Molloy attended Britt Institute's Instrumental Jazz Camp when he was a student at Ashland High School, from which he graduated in 1997. He played professionally in several bands before forming On the One, a jazz/funk/soul ensemble, in summer 2006 with Staten, a drummer. They had played in the band Giant People together.

The addition of bassist Andy Irvine and the recent addition of guitarist Pete Lombardo make the group a funky, danceable quartet driven by hip-hop beats mixing with sax, groove bass and guitar. On the One won a San Diego Music Award for Best Jazz Album in 2007.

Molloy says the band got its name pretty much by accident.

"Me and John were driving to our first show in San Diego," Molloy says. "We had this vision of a funky, four-piece thing. We'd just got Prince's 'Musicology,' and on the CD he's like, 'On the one,' and they'd break it down to the first beat of the measure.

"So the promoter comes out and asks our name, and we didn't have one, and On the One popped out of my mouth."

On the One's debut album, "Love Addiction," was recently picked up by the Japanese label P-Vine. The band will tour the Northwest this summer and probably the Far East this winter in support of the record.

Not the least of the things Molloy says he's stoked about is being on the same stage as perennially popular Earth, Wind and Fire.

"I'm a big-time fan," he says. "They took funk/soul to the most popular level for all these years. It's amazing."

Southern Oregon rockers AnnieMac and jazz/gospel singer Beth Baker are also among those who will be performing at Britt this summer, Britt announced. AnnieMac will open for Three Dog Night on Thursday, July 10. First active in the San Francisco Bay Area, the band has been building a following since getting back together in Southern Oregon in 2006. Baker, of Medford, is expected to sing with Lyle Lovett and His Large Band at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 23. Baker is an ex-New York cabaret singer who also sings gospel.

Other openers announced:

  • Singer-songwriter Jesca Hoop, a native of Northern California, will open for Mark Knopfler at his sold-out Britt performance on Sunday, June 29.
  • Acoustic soul act LeRoy Bell and His Only Friends will open for blues legend B.B. King on Tuesday, July 1.
  • Acoustic singer-songwriter Tristan Prettyman will open the show for John Butler Trio and G. Love and Special Sauce on Friday, Sept. 5.
  • Opening for The Black Crowes on Sunday, Sept. 7, the last concert of the season at the Britt Pavilion in Jacksonville, will be rockers Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.

Visit or call 541-773-6077 or 1-800-882-7488. Britt's box office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at 216 W. Main St., Medford.

Reach reporter Bill Varble at 776-4478 or e-mail

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