Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey Confirms Release Of 4 Live Albums & Unreleased Final Studio Album With Reed Mathis ‘Winterwood’

By Andy Kahn May 6, 2021 10:58 am PDT

Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey announced the release of four archival live albums as well as their previously unreleased last studio album with co-founding bassist Reed Mathis, 2008’s Winterwood. Royal Potato Family will digitally issue Winterwood and the first live album, The Spark That Bled, tomorrow, Friday, May 7.

The next two live albums, Nine Improvisations and Speak No Evil will be released digitally on June 4. The fourth and final live album, Lil Tae Rides Again (Live), is due digitally on July 2. A double-LP vinyl edition of Winterwood, whose title comes from Winterwood Recording Studios in Eureka Springs, Arkansas where it was made, will be available on August 6.

Mathis used downtime caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to spend part of 2020 culling through past JFJO recordings. Mathis co-founded JFJO in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1994 and remained in the band until 2008, leaving shortly after recording Winterwood with fellow original member, keyboardist Brian Haas, and one of several JFJO drummers, Josh Raymer. Mathis remixed the recordings from those sessions for the studio album’s long-awaited official release.

“The JFJO experience, for me, sorta felt like 10 years of figuring out what we were meant to do, musically, and then five years of actually getting to play it … to play and write at our full potential,” Mathis said. “Those last four or five years contained so much great teamwork and peak creativity, and so much follow through! We were moving so fast, we ended up with most of that top-shelf stuff going undocumented, and since I left the group at the start of 2009, most of what we had been working on has existed only as raw, unmixed, unedited recordings, silently passing the years away in my storage unit.”

The four live albums were curated by Mathis with different themes presented in each release. Drummer Jason Smart backs Haas and Mathis on The Spark That Bled, recorded in 2005 and showcasing songs and songwriting through three originals paired alongside instrumental covers of songs by The Flaming Lips, Bjork, John Coltrane and others. The same lineup appears on Nine Improvisations, a collection of nine show-starting jams also from 2005 and on Speak No Evil, an album of acoustic live jazz standards and originals recorded mostly in Europe in 2006.

Mathis and Haas are accompanied by Raymer and guitarist Pete Tomshany on Lil Tae Rides Again (Live), which was recorded during the 2008 tour in support of JFJO’s concept album about middle school. Mathis sequenced recordings from multiple performances to create complete versions of each song on Lil Tae Rides Again.

Mathis created a companion mini-documentary to go with today’s announcement.

“I was with Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey from the beginning,” said Mathis. “We saw the world and along the way, we made some incredible art together. All told it was the craziest 15 years of my life. This documentary piece is my version of the story.”

Watch Winterwood: A Jacob Fred Story below:

The current JFJO lineup features Haas, Raymer and Chris Combs on guitar and lap steel. Mathis is active in a number of solo projects including Electric Beethoven and will perform this weekend as part of Billy & The Kids with Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann. Mathis also recorded a cover of Phish's “Bye Bye Foot” for JamBase's Cluster Flies compilation.

Winterwood Tracklist (May 7 Release)

  1. Dove’s Army Of Love
  2. Song Of The Vipers
  3. A-Bird
  4. Oklahoma Stomp
  5. Goodnight Ollie
  6. Old Love, New Love
  7. Crazy Fingers
  8. The Slip
  9. Twinstar
  10. Earl Hines
  11. Bumper Crop Of Strange
  12. Walking Before Daylight
  13. Vernal Equinox

The Spark That Bled Tracklist (May 7 Release)

  1. Don’t Let It Bring You Down
  2. Daily Wheatgrass Shots
  3. Isobel
  4. Santiago
  5. Tomorrow We’ll Know Today
  6. The Spark That Bled
  7. Happiness Is A Warm Gun
  8. Naima
  9. Fables Of Faubus

Nine Improvisations Tracklist (June 4 Release)

  1. Improv (Seattle 2005)
  2. Improv (Dallas 2005)
  3. Improv (Beardslee Castle 2005)
  4. Improv (Quincy 2005)
  5. Improv (New York City 2005)
  6. Improv (Burlington 2005)
  7. Improv (Philadelphia 2005)
  8. Improv (Portland 2005)
  9. Improv (Boulder 2005)

Speak No Evil Tracklist (June 4 Release)

  1. Up Jumped Spring (Amsterdam 2006)
  2. Ruby My Dear (Amsterdam 2006)
  3. Deluge (Berlin 2006)
  4. In Your Own Sweet Way (Berlin 2006)
  5. Four In One (Berlin 2006)
  6. Davey’s Purple Powerline (Amsterdam 2006)
  7. Fall (Rotterdam 2006)
  8. Gracemont (Rotterdam 2006)
  9. Walking With Giants (Milan 2006)
  10. JuJu (Utrecht 2006)
  11. Speak No Evil (New York City 2006)
  12. Lola & Alice (Bremen 2006)
  13. I Mean You (Bremen 2006)

Lil Tae Rides Again (Live) Tracklist (July 2 Release)

  1. Autumnal (live)
  2. Winter Clothes (live)
  3. Tetherball Triumph (live)
  4. Carpool (live)
  5. Tae Parade (live)
  6. Santiago Lends A Hand (live)
  7. Waking The Reluctant Genius (live)
  8. Scuffle In The Hall (live)
  9. The Votes Are Counted (live)
  10. Recovering The Time Capsule (live)
  11. Goodnight Ollie (live)
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