Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, a three-piece group out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, is a jazz group at their core. But many would consider them unclassifiable. They have dipped if not completely immersed themselves into experimental hip-hop, funk, and electronic phases as well as almost every explorable subset of jazz over their 20+ years as an entity. The Battle For Earth, a live recording that marks their 27th release as a group, sees JFJO continue and refine an exquisite mix of all of these genres.
On Battle For The Earth the trio slides back into their instrumental roots while reimagining the tracks of their 2014 release, Worker. All but three of the tracks on this album are pulled from Worker. The original tracks have a sound crafted heavily with synthesizers and fuzzy, grungy guitar effects. The trio tones down the electronic influence and swaps their style for a more typical contemporary yet distinctly acid jazz sound. They still create that special sort of chaos they are known for while letting the smoothness of a grand piano and an (occasionally) effect-less guitar emerge. Even with this reimagined instrumentation from founder and keyboardist Brian Haas and guitarist Chris Combs, they have no problem holding a cohesive sound, in part because of the unifying drummer, Josh Raymer.
Notable tracks from The Battle For Earth include “New Bird,” distinctive for its impressive piano riffs and psychdelic Scofield-esque guitar, and “Bounce.” Perhaps the most experimental acid jazz track (besides the intense “Hey Hey NSA”), this track includes complex rhythmic work from Raymer, Haas, and Combs as well as trippy staccato stylings from Raymer and Combs.
If you dig this, check out their 2011 release Race Riot Suite. It’s one of the most intense jazz albums to have the pleasure of listening to.
Recommended If You Like: John Scofield, SST7, Jazzanova, Thievery Corporation