Hailing from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey (or JFJO for short) is a classical/jazz/jam band. They are to music as Ken Hale is to language. Their influences are clearly evident and yet their sound is entirely their own. They are well worth giving a listen, whether you are a long-time jazz afficiando or think that jazz is a stodgy old genre. They are a very high energy band. You can listen to them online—they've got some stuff on their website and more on soundcloud. The Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey writes their own music and sometimes cover other musicians—they even did the Dead Kennedys' MTV Get Off The Air.

The line-up has evolved over time but now it is Brian Haas on piano, Josh Raymer on drums, Chris Combs on lap steel and Jeff Harshbarger on upright bass. Sometimes they use electric instruments. In their beginnings they were an octet and had a more punk/funk feel to their sound (think early Chili Peppers). In 1999 the band dropped the vocals and became a trio. In 2008 they added a fourth player and will add on other muscians as need be for performances or recordings.

Over the years they have gotten progressively more serious as musicians. Last year they collaborated with the Bartlesville Symphony Orchestra to reinterpret Beethoven's 3rd and 6th symphonies under the title Ludwig. The result was at once true to the form of the original composition while sounding wholly new. This year they released their 21st album, "The Race Riot Suite," to honor the victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riots. The work is epic: beautiful but violent; a celebration of the thriving African-American community which was; a mournful dirge for those lives lost while turning hopeful at the end, expressing the hope of rebuilding and healing.

Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey has played at major jazz festivals (Newport, Montreal amongst others)  and in many historic venues and even opened for non-jazz artists as well. The band is incredibly prolific, having released more albums than the number of years that they've played as a band. Which is even more impressive considering how regularly they tour.

Check them out!

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