Evolution defines the spirit of Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey. In fact, evolution is what allows this Tulsa, Oklahoma institution to thrive. Greater than the sum of its parts, JFJO is hitting new creative peaks in an already historic 15-year career. Founding pianist Brian Haas and drummer Josh Raymer made the decision at the outset of 2009 to expand what was one of the fiercest modern jazz trios in recent memory to a quartet by adding lap steel guitarist Chris Combs and upright bassist Matt Hayes. Upon the departure of original bassist Reed Mathis at the end of ’08, longtime JFJO fans wondered aloud what might become of JFJO. The new line-up quickly laid all fears to rest as they re-emerged with a bristling energy and an invigorated sound. Hitting the road with something to prove, they toured the U.S. for the better part of early ’09, even visiting cities they hadn’t played in years. In addition, as a thank you to fans for their loyal support, they released their final album with Mathis, entitled Winterwood, as a free download.
For those yet to hear the latest incarnation of JFJO, a description of their new sound is in order–after all this is a band once described by Signal To Noise as having "a breadth and vision nearly untouched in modern jazz except by the likes of Wayne Shorter and Bill Frisell." With the addition of Combs on lap steel and Hayes on acoustic bass, JFJO has perhaps invented its own genre: red dirt jazz, equal parts earthy and nimble, pastoral and sweeping, elegant and rollicking. The quartet taps into their birthright, drawing upon "The Tulsa Sound" born of hometown heroes like JJ Cale and Leon Russell. These roots grow up into a jazz foundation that’s built firmly upon the influence of Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk among others.
Last month JFJO began documenting its rebirth at 58NS Studios in Brooklyn. The sessions are currently being mixed in Tulsa for an EP to be released in late summer on the quartet’s own Kinnara Records. Until then JFJO will be playing select club dates and festivals around the country. While nothing is ever certain in the JFJO universe, it’s clear for the time being that their fearless vessel has navigated the storm to arrive beneath sunshine and blue skies on the high and open seas. The odyssey continues.
Upcoming Tour Dates
May 24 | Paseo Arts Festival | Oklahoma City, OK
June 4 | Wakarusa Music Festival | Ozark, AR
June 12 | Jardine’s | Kansas City, MO
June 13 | Jardine’s | Kansas City, MO
June 17 | Elbo Room | San Francisco, CA
June 18 | Starry Plough | Berkeley, CA (w/ Antioquia)
June 19 | Starry Plough | Berkeley, CA
June 20 | Jambalaya | Arcata, CA
June 24 | First Street Pub & Grill | Nederland, CO
June 25 | B-Side Lounge | Boulder, CO (w/ Fareed Haque’s Flat Earth Ensemble)
June 26 | Owsley’s Golden Road | Denver, CO (w/ Fareed Haque’s Flat Earth Ensemble)
July 9 | Piazza at Schmidt’s | Philadelphia, PA
July 10 | The Lizard Lounge | Boston, MA (w/ Club D’Elf)
July 11 | The Lizard Lounge | Boston, MA (w/ Club D’Elf)
July 14 | The Iron Horse | Northampton, MA
July 17 | Downright Music & Arts | Collinsville, CT
July 18 | Joe’s Pub | New York, NY