Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey
JFJO is pianist Brian Haas, drummer Josh Raymer, upright bassist Matt Hayes and guitarist Chris Combs. To say that JFJO’s music transcends boundaries and expands minds is an understatement. Since 1994, JFJO has brought their impressionistic and improvisational vision from the Midwest’s Bible-Belt to many of the world’s finest music festivals and clubs. Music listeners are blown away by JFJO’s instrumental creativity, musical risk, and near telepathy on stage. In the past 18 months, JFJO has travelled to Europe three times for two dozen performances and have played at major jazz festivals all over the world. In 2007 JFJO is working on their fourteenth album, their fourth with Brooklyn-based Hyena Records, to create their most unique album yet. The Sameness of Difference was released in the Fall of 2005 and recorded in collaboration with acclaimed producer Joel Dorn. A 13 track collection of both covers and originals, it is a living, breathing testament to the 13 years that the ensemble has spent together. Throughout the album, the band explores their influences and offers interpretations of music by The Flaming Lips, Charles Mingus, Neil Young, Brian Wilson, Dave Brubeck, The Beatles, Bjork and Jimi Hendrix. On JFJO’s follow-up, Tomorrow We’ll Know Today, a digital exclusive collection of live recordings from Europe and America, JFJO is found pushing their music even further. Improvisations such as “Nightlight” and “Gypsy Tea” create ambient sonic tapestries based on melody and sweeping tonal textures that sound like nothing you have ever heard. No, there is no member of the ensemble named Jacob Fred. The group’s name came about in 1994 when JFJO was a septet and the name reflects the sense of humor in their approach to making music. ‘Jazz Odyssey’ comes from the scene in the hilarious mockumentary, ‘This is Spinal Tap,’ in which the rock group loses a member and must improvise their normally rocking performance with free-jazz and fusion. ‘Jacob Fred’ was a high-school monikir of Brian Haas. Once, when high-schoolers did not have cell phones and homes had just a single land line, Jacob Fred was Brian’s CB radio handle and his nickname when girls’ parents answered the phone late at night. The group also goes by the names The Fred and JFJO.