MFO was formed in 2005 by Perth band-leader and composer Mace Francis to experiment with composition in the style of the great modern big bands lead by Bob Brookmeyer, Thad Jones, Bill Holman and Maria Schneider. The result has been the coming together of 14 of Perth’s finest musicians to create exciting new music for big band.
Over the last 17 years MFO has developed an individual and original sound through regular performances, tours and special projects commissioning of over 40 new works from Australian and International composers.
Highlights for the band so far have been; 4 national tours (2006, 2008, 2010 & 2011), performances with international jazz artists, Jim Pugh (USA), Jon Gordon (NY), John Hollenbeck (Berlin), Theo Bleckmann (NY), Satoko Fujii (JAP), Natsuki Tamura (JAP) and Ed Partyka (GER) and 6 CD recordings.
MFO’s CD, Music for Average Photography, was awarded the 2015 APRA AMCOS Art Music Award, Jazz Work of the Year.
Mace Francis is establishing himself as predominant figure and advocate for original Australian big band music. He moved to Perth, from Victoria, in 2000 to study jazz composition and arranging at the WA Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) leaving with First Class Honours in 2004, and then in 2015 with a PhD of which he was awarded the Faculty Research Medal.
Since 2004, Mace’s focus on composition has awarded him the 2004 APRA Professional Development Award, the international Italian composition prize “Scrivere in Jazz”, a finalist in the 2010 Freedman Jazz Fellowship, nomination for an Australian Bell Award (2013 & 2016) and was the 2015 winner of the APRA AMCOS Art Music Award: Jazz Work of the Year.