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February 3, 2010

"One Day In Brooklyn" - Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey

JFJO graces us with their newest EP of their own brand of jazz (stream it on their site right now for free). One Day In Brooklyn is a short yet solid collection of tunes that fall into a wide spectrum, covering many grounds.

Catch them live here in Portland on February 19th at Mississippi Studios. I missed them when they were in town back in September due to a Beer event (which was during their Music Millennium in store) followed by a Beer and Art event at the Portland Art Museum (which was during their performance at Jimmy Maks). Can life be all that bad when you have to choose between your three passions jazz, beer, and art? Any-whos, I feel this will be a more suited venue as Jimmy Maks can put off weird vibes for me.

One Day in Brooklyn offers six tracks of rock, hip-hop, and classical influenced/infused jazz. "The Black and Crazy Blues and A Laugh For Rory (for Joel Dorn)" [breath] starts off with a slow building landscape if you will picture the subtly building scenes of a spaghetti western before evolving into a shuffle-like beat the climatic showdown. To conclude the track the band kicks it in high gear with a faster tempo giving way to a shuffle that makes you want to boogie like Cajun or Zydeco music does.

Probably my favorite of the bunch is "Country Girl". An interesting mix of melodies, build ups and break downs. Each instrument stands unique here but relies on the others to create the definitive tone of the song. I know Alt-Country-Rock was a popular term a couple of years ago, but I think JFLO perfected Alt-Jazz, with a certain Country vibe, but that's what happens when you add the lap steel to the mix, and it's well received in this outfit.

The first two tracks give you the sense of a standard backbeat, where others offer straight ahead rhythms with accents on the third beat. "Imam" and "Drethoven" are examples of this heavier rock beat. And the third track, "Julia" a mildly building cut, takes a step back from the swingin' affairs of the other tunes. A balled if you will, fans of The Bad Plus will appreciate this one. The band performs with a feeling of being well rehearsed and are very tight nit, while still offering a free-in the moment feeling.

The album concludes with two endings. "Drethoven," is the epic, closing statement leaving the JFJO maker's mark (a composition inspired by Dr. Dre and Beethoven). Finally everything is smoothed out with the whimsical, "Four In One." A well recognized Thelonious Monk composition leaving the ears begging for more. Word is that JFJO will be having a full length release due out in June, which would mark their 20th record.
2009 - Kannara Records.
Brian Haas - Piano; Joshua Raymer - Drums; Chris Combs - Lap Steel; Matt Hayes - Bass.

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