Pianist Brian Haas, drummer Josh Raymer, and bassist/effects wizard/guitarist Reed Mathis occupy a rather unique place in the music world. To say that JFJO's music transcends boundaries is an understatement. Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey's bold, amorphous and visceral music is influenced just as much by post-rock and ambient electronica as traditional jazz standards, chamber music and free improvisation.
JFJO's music generates an all-encompasing sensory experience for the listener. Since 1994 JFJO's virtuosic instrumental interplay, uncanny ability to communicate musically and near-telepathic improvisation has won over fans and critics alike all over North America, Europe and South America. In April 2008 JFJO released their fourteenth album, 'Lil Tae Rides Again,' their fourth release with Brooklyn-based Hyena Records. Garnering rave reviews in SF Weekly, Absolute Sound, Downbeat, and more, the album marks a departure from the past, with a focus placed on orchestrating sonic tapestries based on minimalist melodies and sweeping tonal textures.
In 2004, JFJO released their first album with Hyena Records, Walking with Giants. 2005 saw the release of their second Hyena album, The Sameness of Difference, an album of 13 songs (all but one recorded in one day) produced by recording heavyweight and Hyena label head Joel Dorn. Unlike the all-originals Giants, more than half of Sameness's tunes are covers of songs by a remarkably eclectic set of composers (Bjork, Brian Wilson, Charles Mingus, Dave Brubeck, Neil Young). This latest effort continues in the groups quest for constant change and exploration, once again re-imagining their creative horizons and blurring genres.
These three musicians are musical chameleons who can move crowds in small jazz clubs, big rock clubs and performing arts theaters. JFJO may be dropping jaws while opening up for Sound Tribe Sector 9 or they may be receiving multiple standing ovations while opening up for Al Di Meola - all in the same week of touring. They have been celebrated by the jazz world - playing regularly at NYC's Blue Note and the now defunct Tonic, in some of Europe's biggest jazz theaters, and appearing in major jazz magazines such as Downbeat and JazzTimes - but they also have found success and audiences in the jam scene - playing large festivals and performing with the likes of Steve Kimock and Les Claypool. 2008 will find JFJO at such prestigeous festivals as Guinness Cork Jazz Festival in Ireland, the 40th Umea Jazz Festival in Sweden, and the infamous Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island.