"When the show began, a spotlight illuminated Mars alone on center stage. With her head bowed and her hands around the mic, she stood quietly while she gained the audience's full attention....She was known as Marvelous Mars and the name fit...The saxophone and other brass instruments carried the band to an astounding level...They were unlike any other group...At the end of the night there was a standing ovation and two encores..."
excerpt from "Million Dollar Party A Restaurant Memoir" by Robert Mark Ihrig and Susan Jean Butherus Ihrig (available on Amazon.com)
When Tunafish Jones takes center stage the crowd takes notice. With its stellar saxophone player,Frank Lightell, demanding attention from his very first note to his last, there's not a soul in the place that forgets the name TUNA. Dressed in a black suit, tie, high top Chuck Taylor's, and her favorite sunglasses, the petite lead vocalist Mars McCracken takes her fans breath away the minute they hear her sing. With hands flailing and feet constantly moving, she provides a unique visual performance that is only outdone by her powerful, beautiful voice. Whether this band is playing original tunes written by Mars or some creative, quirky version of a cover arranged by guitarist/keyboard player Bruce McCracken, they keep their audience in a trance. Literally thousands of fans turn out every year to experience the musical expertise of Tunafish Jones. They have released nine CDs in the last ten years and their fans keep coming back for more. Their constant fan mail describes it best. "I came to hear you last week. You were beautiful. What soul, what fun you have. What a gorgeous sound you make. The whole place was alive with your music. It was perfect. Thank you for all that you bring and I will look forward to seeing you again." Tunafish Jones is recognized as a "must see" for anyone wanting to dance the whole night through or just sit back and bask in the perfection of a class act.
Tunafish Jones is a creative concoction created by lead singer and songwriter, (Marvelous) Mars McCracken . Influenced early on by jazz elitists Ella Fitzgerald, Della Reese, Miles Davis, Gerry Mulligan, composer Leonard Bernstein, and funk master James Brown, Mars envisioned a band that could mesh together the free for all hilarity of a night at a juke joint with the profundity of a symphonic odyssey. She came from a family of musical genius, a great grandmother who played harp and taught music, a grandfather who set the household on fire playing boogie-woogie on an old upright piano, a mother who played jazz standards by ear on the piano, singing along with a beautiful, deep haunting voice, and last but not least, an uncle, a child prodigy, who was an outstanding piano player as well as jazz drummer . Mars played piano and clarinet but preferred to stand on the corner and sing. Her first introduction to the stage was in New York, when she was barely five years old. She knew immediately that’s where she belonged. She inherited the voice from her mother, the rhythm from her uncle and from her father (a legendary long distant runner from Istanbul Turkey) she received the endurance to sing and dance up a storm.
Guitar, keyboard player,arranger and vocalist, Bruce McCracken began an intense interest in music at age three. At five he was enrolled in piano and organ lessons, continuing on until he was eighteen. By the time he was eight he was jammin’ with famed blues pianist Jay McShann, a friend of his parents who, when on tour in the area, after the gig, would continue the party into the wee hours in the McCracken living room. Bruce would wake up and join in, playing the organ which was setup opposite the piano. His life long love of playing the guitar began in fourth grade. It was around this time that he was introduced to funk by McShann’s guitarist, a former James Brown player. McCracken also enjoyed playing drums, vibes, trombone and trumpet . Later after gigging on the Hammond B3, Fender Rhodes, and Hohner Clavinet, he began experimenting with electronic synthesizers. Bruce's experience and expertise has become the driving musical force behind Tunafish Jones.
Frank Lightell was one of the original sax players for Tunafish Jones. Born in Frankfurt Germany, his family moved to the United States when he was five. As soon as he mastered the English language he began music lessons,mastering the saxophone, the flute and obtaining a degree in music. Frank's unforgettable, soulful sound continues to captivate Tunafish Jones' fans night after night.
THE GROUP'S MUSICAL VISION IS EXCELLENT . . .
YOU GO TO AN IMAGINATIVE PLACE . .
(Music Producer and eleven time Grammy Award winner)