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Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, a quartet from Tulsa, Oklahoma, brought their unique brand of open-minded musicianship to the Loft at UCSD. Touring in support of Race Riot Suite, the quartet added a five-piece horn section, including Peter Apfelbaum and Mark Southerland. One of the facets giving JFJO a unique tone in the jazz world is lap-steel player Chris Combs. An unusual instrument to be featured in a jazz quartet, it calls to mind melodies of Americana as well as the slow brooding crescendos of Pink Floyd. Chris Combs composed Race Riot Suite in homage to the Tulsa race riot of 1921. The music excels in emotional depth and dynamic, the cacophony of struggle, the swagger of pride, with a brimming turmoil to an all-out explosion of catastrophe.

At the Loft, these players captured the attention of a well-filled room from the moment of downbeat. Brian Haas's rapid assault on the Fender Rhodes left onlookers gazing in awe. He battles sound with quick and precise fingers, fueling the frenzy with his serpentine movements. Drummer Josh Raymer's ability to listen and anticipate never ceases to amaze, as soon as any new rhythmic or melodic complexity is introduced, he is accenting it as if it were present the whole time. The interplay between Raymer and Haas during a composition called "Drethoven" (an homage to Dr. Dre and Beethoven) was like watching unconnected Siamese twins living inside the actions of the other. Raymer can swing jazz as well as he plays soul; this, combined with Jeff Harshbarger's fluid mastery of the upright bass, provides the band with a malleable rhythm section that can be anything at any time.

Over the course of the evening, one could hear elements of traditional jazz, current indie rock, hip-hop, classical, avant-garde, noise, garage, and psychedelia. These young virtuosos pull from the pallet of infinity and paint sonic landscapes as eclectic as their audiences.

  • Concert: Jacob Fred Jazz odyssey
  • Date: October 5
  • Venue: The Loft (UCSD)
  • Seats: General admission
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