by Minister of Information JR Valrey, Oakland Bureau Chief
3.T.O.B. will be rocking the Oakland Jazz Club Yoshi’s on Dec. 26 and releasing their debut album, “Trading Places.” The musicians in the group are all former members of the legendary group, Tony, Toni, Tone who have broken off to start their own group. Many of those musicians were with the Tonies in their earlier years and helped to cultivate the sound that so many of us grew up with and love.
So although 3.T.O.B. is a new configuration to the common music lover, the group consists of musicians who created the Oakland-Bay Area R&B sound of the ‘80s and ‘90s, as well as these musicians are some of the main architects of the sound and vibe that Neo-Soul used to become a genre in the late ‘90s.
Elijah Baker is the bassist for 3.T.O.B. and one of the best in Oakland since Larry Graham. He sat down with me to have a quick talk about what they have coming up at Yoshi’s. Check it out.
JR Valrey: What do the initials of the band stand for, and what kinds of music do you normally play?
Elijah Baker: 3.T.O.B is the name of the band – Tony Toni Tone’s Original Band.
Yes, we are doing our record release on 12/26/22. We are giving our fans the gift of live music.
JR Valrey: How long has the band been together, and how did y’all meet?
Elijah Baker: The band formed in 2019, but we have been playing together professionally since 1988.
JR Valrey: Is Funk dead? If not, what constitutes this era of Funk?
Elijah Baker: No! Funk will never die, thanks to me! I have an all funk cd titled: “Elijah Baker (A Real Mother Funker).” Funk is a feeling, a vibe, that moves your body soulfully like The Holy Ghost!
JR Valrey: In the studio, what have y’all been working on?
Elijah Baker: We have been completing our debut cd, “Trading Places.”
JR Valrey: For someone who has never heard of you, how would you describe your sound?
Elijah Baker: Our sound is very soulful and authentic R&B commercial music that’s very catchy.
JR Valrey: Who are two bassists who have inspired your playing, and why?
Elijah Baker: James Jamerson, Bernard Edwards because of the feeling they played with. You can feel the soundtrack of the song through the bass lines they played.
JR Valrey: Was playing an instrument an important part of how you grew up? Do you think that music needs to be put back into the schools? Why or why not?
Elijah Baker: Playing music saved my life during the crack era in the ‘80s. If it wasn’t for my love and desire for music, the streets would’ve sucked me in. And yes, kids need to have instruments in school because they are mentally far more advanced than us with technology.
Music can be more creative than just programming a beat and sampling.
JR Valrey: How do people purchase tickets to your show at Yoshi’s? How can people hear your music online?
Elijah Baker: You can go to Yoshi’s website for the tickets on 12/26/22, 8 p.m. 3.T.O.B. / Amar Khalil / Legally Blynd / Tron Treazy / Elijah Baker / Park Avenue and all Ambitious Records artists are on all digital outlets!
Thank you very much for the interview.
JR Valrey, journalist, author, filmmaker and founder of Black New World Media, heads the SF Bay View’s Oakland Bureau and is founder of his latest project, the Ministry of Information Podcast. He can be reached at email@example.com and on Instagram.