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Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey: Worker

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Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, a band that has altered its lineup many times over its 20 years and 25 albums, is down to a trio for its 26th-keyboardist Brian Haas, guitarist Chris Combs and drummer Josh Raymer. At this point it is clear that these guys are making music for themselves. And good thing, because no one else should have to listen to this claptrap.

It is a shame, what has become of JFJO. Years ago, these guys were innovators, well ahead of the pop-rock-jazz trend that would usher in the Bad Plus, Garage A Trois and other genre-busting bands. Now, apparently, they just make unlistenable noise, uninterested in producing anything that might actually please a fellow human. Worker sounds like it was recorded in a dump truck factory, an occasional Fender Rhodes or electric guitar breaking the miasma of monotonous whirring and droning. The rhythms are boring and plodding. The melodies-well, there are none. Songs? What songs? “New Bird” sounds like the soundtrack to a movie in which nothing happens. “Appropriation Song” is Nine Inch Nails without emotion. “Betamax” is the Gap Band without rhythm or soul. It gets worse, with pointless machinery sounds, headache-inducing sirens and random bursts of static. “Hey Hey NSA” is nothing short of aural torture. This collection of industrial belching isn’t worth a cent of your money, much less 41 minutes of your time. Worker is either an exercise in nonsense as conceptual art or a prank on the record-buying public.

Originally Published