I walked into an empty Great American Music Hall last night to see Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey absolutely shredding their instruments, climaxing intense jam after intense jam. Tulsa's JFJO had an opening slot for Chicago's Liquid Soul in San Francisco, making for a regional melting pot that started small, but had at least fifty people grooving along by the end of their set.

JFJO is Brian Hass on Fender Rhodes piano, Reed Mathis on Fender bass and Matthew Edwards on drums. On initial inspection, the trio conjures up a memory of Medeski, Martin, and Wood because of their instrumentation, but these guys are more intense than MMW.

JFJO absolutely ripped at every chance they got. Reed plays some incredible bass lines, at times he's got it ripping like it was a lead guitar, evoking memories of some of the best of Stacey Starkweather's repertoire, from the original JMP lineup. Brian was slamming on his keyboard like he was John Medeski's alien cousin. He even had aliens on his shirt, perhaps he is extraterrestrial, taking jams up a notch, and then another, until you thought he might have cardiac arrest. Not sure if he only plays the Fender Rhodes, as JFJO could have a bit more texture if he could complement his Rhodes work with a Hammond, Clavinet, or Wurlitzer, enabling JFJO to develop the depth that the older and more experienced MMW has. Matthew Edwards plays his drum kit like a man possessed, focused on smashing his cymbals right on time.

But these guys don't just bang away at their instruments with reckless abandon, they are a tight group of talented musicians. Get off your couch and go see the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey! JFJO will be continuing down the coast for the next week, and has an extensive tour of the west coast and southwest continuing through August.

Ted Kartzman
JamBase San Francisco


[Published on: 7/27/00]

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