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
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
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!