199

Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey: Slow Breath, Silent Mind

Eric J. Iannelli By

Sign in to view read count
Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey: Slow Breath, Silent Mind Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey tiptoes along the fine lines separating rock and jazz and all the various sub- and sub-sub- genres of the two. There’s a salient jam band ethos in their music, right next to the influences of classic and psychedelic rock, hard bop and experimental/avant jazz. This broad source of inspiration has won them a following from the university party scene to somewhat fussier critical circles.

Culled from recorded performances during a two-month U.S. tour in autumn 2003, Slow Breath, Silent Mind sees JFJO—bassist Reed Mathis, drummer Jason Smart, pianist Brian Haas—taking up more standards and covers than their audience might have expected. Seven of these eleven tracks are by composers who have, in one way or another, shaped JFJO’s sound: Broadway lyricist Howard Deitz, Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, Duke, Trane and Monk. The only songwriters missing from this list are Trey Anastasio, Dave Matthews and Jerry Garcia.

The good news is that the non-original charts on Slow Breath, Silent Mind are on the whole well executed, confirming JFJO’s apparent assertion that they’re able to give a tuneful, intelligent treatment to the songs of others. The bad news is that the standards and covers make the original tracks sound terribly bland in comparison. Place a song like the opener—a bluesy rendition of Duke Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood,” full of the growls and shrieks of Mathis’ octave-induced acoustic bass—next to Haas’ repetitious, Phish-like “Nibbles,” and the contrast in quality immediately becomes apparent. The five-and-a-half ethereally New Age minutes of the trio’s “Improvisation for STS9” (Sound Tribe Sector 9 is a kindred band) are just plain irritating. The title track, written by Smart, is a bit meatier, but still sounds as generic as a score for an unwritten film.

Like so much of Béla Fleck’s output, Slow Breath, Silent Mind has an indisputable crossover appeal. Festival-hoppers will probably adore it. Unlike Fleck, the gents in JFJO don’t seem to be doing anything new here compositionally or sonically—unless you count Mathis’ attempts to make his acoustic bass sound like an electric guitar as a breakthrough of some sort. The covers of Hubbard’s “Up Jumped Spring” (spry, cleverly tongue-in-cheek) and Trane’s “Central Park West” (sombre, reverential, aching) are worth hearing, but there are still many, many discs more worthy of your ear.

Visit Kufala Recordings and Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey online.

Track Listing: 1. In a Sentimental Mood 2. Off Minor 3. Central Park West 4. Nibbles 5. Up Jumped Spring 6. Hover 7. Alone Together 8. Improvisation for STS9 9. Fall 10. Slow Breath, Silent Mind 11. Prince of Darkness

Personnel: Reed Mathis (acoustic bass guitar with octave effects, cello); Jason Smart (drums); Brian Haas (piano).

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Kufala Recordings | Style: Jam Band


comments powered by Disqus

Shop

More Articles

Read The Big Wig CD/LP/Track Review The Big Wig
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 24, 2017
Read The Dreamer Is the Dream CD/LP/Track Review The Dreamer Is the Dream
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 24, 2017
Read Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert CD/LP/Track Review Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 24, 2017
Read The Failure of Words CD/LP/Track Review The Failure of Words
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 24, 2017
Read Groove Dreams CD/LP/Track Review Groove Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Kami Fusen CD/LP/Track Review Kami Fusen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2017
Read "Trandans" CD/LP/Track Review Trandans
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 20, 2017
Read "Panthalassa: The Music Of Miles Davis 1969-1974" CD/LP/Track Review Panthalassa: The Music Of Miles Davis 1969-1974
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: December 23, 2016
Read "And Now the Queen - A Tribute to Carla Bley" CD/LP/Track Review And Now the Queen - A Tribute to Carla Bley
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 30, 2016
Read "America's National Parks" CD/LP/Track Review America's National Parks
by Troy Collins
Published: October 20, 2016
Read "Nor Sea, nor Land, nor Salty Waves" CD/LP/Track Review Nor Sea, nor Land, nor Salty Waves
by Duncan Heining
Published: April 30, 2017
Read "Onward" CD/LP/Track Review Onward
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 5, 2017

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!