Words by Audra Tracy

It may be a happy accident that the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey is often lumped into the jam-band category, because the tag has introduced their sound to a young and open-minded audience. Opening for Phish’s Mike Gordon this fall, the Tulsa quartet has helped turn a new generation (including yours truly) onto the flickering tradition of great American jazz.

Personally, I connect with jazz because it’s abstract – there are no lyrics to direct reactionary emotions, and the listener is free to make up their own warped little story. Like when I hear ‘Drethoven’ off JFJO’s latest EP One Day in Brooklyn, the howling lap steel and foreboding keys that pound along makes me picture a great chase, like in a maze of overgrown hedges. Or the rap-tap-tapping of Josh Raymer’s drums in ‘The Black & Crazy Blues’ conjures up a theme song for the coolest cat in the speakeasy, the guy who makes fancy toasts and dances with all the pretty ladies. But I just had major surgery, so maybe that’s just the chemicals talkin’.

Released on the band’s own Kinnara Records, the EP also confidently takes on Thelonius Monk and The White Album. There’s something so sophisticated about ODIB – it’s adventurous, it’s unpredictable, and it makes you want to get lost in blissful limbo. If this is what we get after just a day in the studio with The Fred, I can’t wait to see their night game at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC this October!

Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey
“One Day in Brooklyn”
Royal Potato Family Records
© September 1st, 2009



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