Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey
  • FRED DIRT RANGERS & RANDY CROUCH
    • Crouching Critter
      Crouching Critter
      Posted: 6/30/2007 10:30AM

      here is a short review from some time back when the Red Dirt Rangers & Randy Crouch played with JFJO --the two bands have continued to collaborate since & are good friends. Although they are very different, I'd like Fans of Fred to please check out and support other Jammin' Okies -espc THE RED DIRT RANGERS and RANDY CROUCH.

      see their two profiles here on jambase & also myspace.com/randycrouch AND myspace.com/reddirtrangers

      PEACE -chrisBcritter

      FRED DIRT wonderland

      Jacob Fred and Red Dirt Rangers make suprise Christmas package

      BY MATTGLEASON

      World Scene Writer

      show review

      Dec 22 2003

      It was appropriate that a Theremin-playing gent calling himself Professor X , clad in a white lab coat and a fuzzy winter cap with floppy ear flaps, opened the Fred Dirt Christmas con-cert, Saturday night at the Cain’s Ballroom.X’s only song, a twisted version of “Silent Night” (inventor Leon Theremin surely was rolling in his grave that night), was an intentionally goofy stunt that was the equivalent of a neon-lit billboard blinking “Get Ready Folks. The Circus is About to Begin.”What a fine time under the big top itturned out to be.The co-headliners — the Jacob FredJazz Odyssey and the Red Dirt Rangers — are both native Oklahoma bands, but they mine widely divergent genres.JFJO plays experimental, avant-gardejazz that defies every jazz stereotype out there — primarily, that the music has to be mind-numbingly dull.The Red Dirt Rangers, well, they playRed Dirt tunes that come complete with fiddle licks — provided by the incomparable Randy Crouch. But the Rangers aren’t content to ride their musical horses only in the corral of Red Dirt music, so they often gallop intoclassic rock and even dabble in hippie jamming. Sure they are different, but bothgroups embrace the idea that, in music, all that really matters is playing tunes that are a hoot for everyone involved.When the two bands announced theirplans to turn the Rangers’ eighth annual Red Dirt Christmas into a Fred Dirt Christmas, some might have wondered what the two groups were smoking. However, for the several hundredfolks who showed up Saturday night, it was a chance to hear two of the premiere bands in Oklahoma play under one roof.JFJO was up first at the Cain’s.Sometimes its members wear suits onstage when they play in some of the ritziest joints around, but they were dressed casually for Fred Dirt.Once they began their first tune — animprovisation keyboardist Brian Haas

      dubbed “It’s So Good to be in Tulsa” —they were off to a rollicking start that didn’t end for more than an hour and a half. As Haas pounded his Rhodes key-board (it had a bumper sticker thatread “A True Patriot Questions Our Lying Government” that Woody Guthrie would have been proud to see) he wrenched sounds out of it that few players have ever produced. He did it via a small collection of giz-mos — his most unusual toy had a plastic tube that he blew into — that he played with one hand as his other struck the keys.Haas’ total immersion into JFJO’smanic jazz tunes was evident as he kept his eyes tightly shut while his upper body pumped to the beat like it was an oil der rick. His curly, shoulder-length brown hair was a hostage to the beat, too, as he flung it like it was a stringy mop.Haas’ mate, bassist Reed Mathis,scrapped the tone of his bass altogether. Instead of the usual heavy drone the bass emits, Mathis plugged both of his electric and acoustic bass into pedals that made them anti-basses, of sort.They sang like opera stars with high, eerie tones that scraped the Cain’s lofty proscenium.While Haas and Mathis swooped andsoared, drummer Jason Smart held it all down, occasionally taking an impressive solo himself.A highlight of JFJO’s set was a guestappearance by hip-hopper Johnny Polygon, who rapped a la A Tribe Called Quest and expertly melded hisvoice with JFJO’s rhythms. The tune’s energy was boosted by JFJO’s former drummer Matt Edwards, who played the Rangers’ drum kit situated right alongside Smart.At around midnight, the Rangers gradually joined JFJO on stage to finish off the title track to JFJO’s latest live offering “Slow Breath, Silent Mind.”Then, both bands and their guests —12 people in all — played the Rangers’ tune about “being a rainbow rocker from way back when.”Haas stayed on stage for one moresong before joining his mates backstage. During the Rangers’ set, whichincluded “Feliz Navidad,” Mathis returned to the stage for two songs before the rest of JFJO returned at the end of the set.The two groups closed out the showwith a Red Dirt Christmas tradition, performing the Band’s tune “The Weight.” They were joined by Red Dirt musician Bob Childers.This year, the Rangers hopefullystarted another tradition for their Red Dirt Christmas: Putting two seemingly opposite bands together for one heck of a holiday bash.