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Monday, Nov. 30, 2009

Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey

One Day in Brooklyn (Royal Potato/Megaforce)

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The latest offering from Tulsa, Okla.’s white-boy nouveau-boppers, the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, continues their penchant for doing it live: Four out of the last six of the quartet’s studio releases have, actually, been from the stage. And here—apropos of the title, “One Day in Brooklyn”—is an insular, six-song slice within their far-reaching borders of idiosyncratic improvisations.

Two originals, Lennon/McCartney’s “Julia,” and one apiece from Monk, Kirk, and Ibrahim rub alongside each other amid a meditative, bottom-heavy groove and the constant ivory plinking of leader Brian Haas. Essentially a piano trio with a lap steel guitar added on top, this string section actually creates a spaced-out Eastern tinge rather than the rustic root that might be expected from a quartet of Oklahomans. Dynamically, there’s a whole lot going on: In turns quiet, haunting, and straight-up funked, everything mostly coalesces by the closing slink-strut of “Four in One.”

Of course, with the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey there is music-school vibe and classical chops to boot, but the boys still cut their teeth on the road opening for the likes of Phish’s Mike Gordon. This in fact allows them to double as the jazz-funk act for flunkies—surely fertile ground (just ask Medeski Martin & Wood) to trod.


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