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A septet which adhere to your basic jazz-funk 1970’s style hipness, the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey recorded seven of these tracks “live” in Tulsa, Oklahoma while two tracks were recorded in the studio. Welcome Home is all about grooves as in the opener, “Seven Inch Six”. On this piece bassist Reed Mathis and drummer Sean Layton lay down the solid funk beat as trumpeter Kyle Wright takes an extended solo followed by some adept trombone work from Matt Leland. One of the predominant if not slightly irritating features throughout this recording is Brian Haas’ spacey, reverb laden implementation of his Fender Rhodes piano which sounds a bit dated for these times....This may be partially due to the uneven mix, especially on the track titled, “Road To Emmaus” which is a dreamscape-ballad of sorts, yet the horns seem far off in the background while Hass’ electric piano washes out most of the instrumentation. The playful “Stomp” features the intentionally (we think?) deadpan vocals of Sean Layton which brings nothing to the table here; although things pick up with guitarist Dove McHargue’s soundtrack to the movie “Shaft” style wah wah guitar. The title track “Welcome Home” is one of the few highlights as the boys lay down some smokin’ hard driving rhythms and upbeat horn choruses.
At times, “Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey” sounds little more than a good time bar band and despite a few flaws in the mix et al, the musicians seem capable and willing. Perhaps a studio date with slightly better material and sympathetic audio engineering may give this band new life and optimize their potential ......
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.