Solid, cerebral jazz
Reviewed August 2009
One Day In Brooklyn
By Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey
The Royal Potato Family: 2009
To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.
Roughly the same age as the members of Medeski Martin and Wood (and a bit older than the members of The Bad Plus), the men of Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey play a kind of art-jazz that resides somewhere between those two better-known combos. Not as funky as MM&W, nor as embedded in rock structures as The Bad Plus, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey plays a melding of straight-ahead and experimental on their latest outing that never gets too out there, but rarely strays into the predictable, either.
Unlike last year's highly experimental "Lil Tae Rides Again," on "One Day in Brooklyn" the band sticks closer to the melodic theme of each song. Keyboardist Brian Haas takes the lead on most of the tracks here, his sparse work on acoustic piano inviting comparisons to The Bad Plus, particularly on a cover of The Beatles' "Julia." Expanded to a quartet for this outing (in addition to fellow co-founder Reed Mathis on bass, Haas is joined here by drummer Josh Raymer and guitarist Chris Combs. While Haas' playing is the dominant musical voice here, the bass and guitar, in particular, lend textures both delicate and powerful to the overall sound, giving it a richer depth than on previous outings as a trio.
Still, Haas' own playing and improvisation remain a bit on the cerebral side of things giving the music here almost a European feeling. There isn't a ton of swing, and at times the music can feel a bit like an intellectual exercise more so than the artistic descendant of Louis Armstrong.
Review by Jim Trageser. Jim is a writer and editor living in Escondido, Calif., and was a contributor to the "Grove Press Guide to Blues on CD" (1993) and "The Routledge Encyclopedia of the Blues" (2005).