October 2004

Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey
Slow Breath Silent Mind

On the live album Slow Breath, Silent Mind (Kufala), Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey tackles such classics as Duke Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood," Thelonious Monk's "Off Minor," John Coltrane's "Central Park West," Wayne Shorter's "Prince of Darkness" as well as five originals. The Tulsa, Okla., trio respects its source material but doesn't show too much reverence toward it. JFJO's odd lineup-acoustic piano, drums, acoustic bass (with octave effects) and cello-naturally stresses off-kilter rhythms, but the group also forges unconventional timbres while navigating these covers' timeless melodies. Throughout Slow Breath, JFJO burns with a quiet intensity rather than dramatically explodes. The musicians play with a coiled looseness, improvising with quicksilver yet deliberate force. You can hear the band's power and inventiveness creatively eroding structure, and the tension produced from that is exhilarating. If JFJO isn't moving jazz forward, it is shifting its center of gravity interestingly askew.

Originally published in October 2004
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