Friday, January 14, 2005

January 14, 2005

Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey
Club Dada
Dallas, Texas
w/The Dead Kenny Gs

1 comment:

Gerbil said...

Review: Jazz show a real trip

11:09 PM CST on Saturday, January 15, 2005

By CHRIS VOGNAR / The Dallas Morning News

Lots of musicians have side projects to indulge their more
unconventional instincts. Then there's Tulsa's Brian Haas, the
freewheeling keyboard player for the experimental jazz band the
Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey (which, coincidentally, has neither a
Jacob nor a Fred to its name).

You see, the JFJO is already rather unconventional, as it showed
Friday night at Club Dada. They find a groove, ride it for a while,
and then blow it to smithereens with a barrage of crazy chord clusters and off-time beats. But even Mr. Haas needs an outlet for his wilder side, which is where Friday's opening act entered the picture. Mr. Haas also plays keys for the Dead Kenny G's, whose frenetic set made the Odyssey sound like a staid swing band.

You could call the Dead Kenny G's free jazz, although a more
accurate label might be punk jazz. Band members include Mr. Haas and a pair of musicians who have played together in Critters Buggin': soprano saxophonist Skerik and percussionist Mike Dillon, a veteran of the Dallas rock scene. Together, they raise the kind of ruckus more commonly associated with CBGB (or the Knitting Factory) than with any traditional jazz club.

The G's do a lot of shouting – much of it filtered through
distortion – and a lot of frenzied jamming. On Friday, Mr. Dillon
pounded on cymbals, tablas, vibes, drums and anything else he
could get his hands and sticks on. Skerik let loose with flurries of notes that built into towering squalls, with any melody purely
coincidental. One thinks of the old tale in which a listener took
free jazzman Ornette Coleman's sax and bent it over his head.
It's a good thing that guy wasn't at Dada on Friday.

By comparison, the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey was a picture of conformity (a laughable concept to anyone who has caught their
high-wire live act). These guys are the real deal – a tight,
adventurous trio that can change time on a dime, stretch jazz to
its outer limits, and make you nod your head all at the same time. Mr. Haas is at the center of the storm, an animated, shoulder-swinging presence as fun to watch as to hear. But he received ample help from longtime bandmate and fellow Oklahoman Reed Mathis, who combined flash and substance on the electric bass.

If you like heady jazz bands such as Galactic and the Charlie Hunter Trio (for whom JFJO opened a few years back at the Gypsy Tea Room), this is an Odyssey worth taking. And if you want to really let go, you can always do it over Kenny G's dead body.

E-mail cvognar@dallasnews.com