Like many people, I call it "New Jazz," for lack of being more creative. You know, people like Charlie Hunter and Robert Walter, Karl Denson and The Slip. Now more recently the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey (JFJO). You might ask what's new about it? Jazz has been around forever; it's nothing new. Well jazz is nothing new but these players sure are. Jazz has been slowly, steadily and, yes, stealthily creeping back into the mainstream right before our very eyes. Back in the 50's and 60's Jazz was the mainstream and jazz was improvisation. Every night people would head out to the local jazz club to party and dance the night away. Well in America that's what jazz has become once again. Jazz is again music to get down to and dance; it has become live improvised music once again. Thanks go out to these new players, some of which I mentioned above.

Photo by ND Koster
Many people believe that Charlie Hunter is the Godfather of the New Jazz movement. Rejoice all you "New Jazz Heads" out there, there is a tour-de-force that is about to take place. Yes, you might have guessed it - Charlie Hunter and the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey. Anyone who has witnessed a Charlie Hunter show before knows what Charlie is capable of, but have you seen The Fred yet? These guys will trip out your nervous system and cleanse you with six ounces of musical wheatgrass so you'll be fit for the next show. Up until Berkfest this writer had been hearing a lot of buzz about JFJO. Previously every attempt to see them in NYC had failed, so man, was I pumped to hear they were playing the Vibes and the Berkfest this past summer. Of course I missed them at the Vibes, along with half the other bands due to bad weather. So I knew I couldn't miss them at the Berkfest. JFJO was everything I imagined and a clove of raw garlic.

As an appetizer to Charlie Hunter's control and mastery of his 8 string JFJO will surely deliver hearts and emotion. Together JFJO and Charlie Hunter are master musicians. Charlie Hunter bought his first guitar at age 12, for seven dollars, then proceeded to take lessons from Joe Satriani himself. Brian Haas (keys) and Reed Mathis (bass) are both classically trained musicians, and along with Jason Smart on drums all three have been playing since grade school. This tour is a dream come true. Both acts list influences such as John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and Louis Armstrong. Both rely heavily on improvisation in their live shows. In fact for JFJO, jazz means improvisation. When on stage both groups strive to create that magical, mystical experience for themselves and the audience through the music being performed.

This new tour is an exciting thing in many ways. Besides offering a great night of music and dance, this is a great opportunity for JFJO. They will be able to get their name, music and energy out to an new and bigger audience who already appreciate jazz. The beauty of this developing scene is that this crowd absolutely loves improv. If you are part of a typical Charlie Hunter audience, JFJO's music will definitely appeal to you. For the audience looking for the excitement of live improvisation, this just might be the perfect tour. This could be the tour that takes a well-kept secret rooted in Tulsa, OK and turns it into one of America's favorite "New Jazz" bands.

Sam Katz
JamBase | Beantown
Go See Live Music!

Charlie Hunter & Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey On Tour!
Fri 11.30 | Mercury Lounge | Austin, TX
Sat 12.01 | Mercury Lounge | Austin, TX
Sun 12.02 | Gypsy Tea Room | Dallas, TX
Mon 12.03 | Gothic Theatre | Englewood, CO
Tue 12.04 | Fox Theatre | Boulder, CO
Thu 12.06 | Rhythm Room | Phoenix, AZ
Fri 12.07 | The Casbah | San Diego, CA
Sat 12.08 | McCabe's | Santa Monica, CA
Sun 12.09 | Galaxy Theatre | Santa Ana, CA
Tue 12.11 | Sierra Vista Restaurant | Tahoe City, CA
Wed 12.12 | Harlow's | Sacramento, CA
Thu 12.13 | Mystic Theatre | Petaluma, CA
Fri 12.14 | Century Ballroom | Seattle, WA
Sat 12.15 | Aladdin Theater | Portland, OR

[Published on: 11/13/01]

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