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Walking With Giants

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Album Review

The Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey is a rather fascinating trio. Reed Mathis is the main wild card, for he plays acoustic bass, octave pedal-induced bass (which sometimes sounds like a guitar), cello, 12-string guitar and sitar. Mathis is often in the lead (particularly when playing in the upper register), pianist Brian Haas is quite unpredictable (almost swinging in spots and then indulging in sound explorations), and drummer-percussionist Jason Smart is very alert to the other two musicians' spontaneous ideas. The music is avant-garde, but also crosses over into fusion and post-bop. There are times when one wishes the group would break into a groove but the episodic music does not find them settling into any one basic idea for long. In addition to the 13 selections on this CD (all originals), this set also comes with a four-song DVD ("Pacific"/"Walking With Giants"/"Slow Breath Silent Mind"/"There Is No Method"), music that was freely improvised on March 30 and 31, 2004 before an audience at Yoshi's in Oakland. The addition of the DVD makes this set a particularly good buy for listeners curious as to what the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey is about.


Formed: 1994 in Tulsa, OK

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

When novices discover the experimental music of the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, they are surprised to learn that there is no one named Jacob Fred -- the group's name is meant to be clever and ironic. Novices also learn that the Tulsa, Oklahoma outfit's mildly avant-garde blend of jazz, rock, and funk draws on a wide variety of influences; JFJO have been influenced by everyone from electric Miles Davis and Jimi Hendrix to Sun Ra, John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, Larry Young, and John Scofield. Often quirky,...
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Walking With Giants, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey
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