Reinvention is coded into the DNA of Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey. More than any one song, album, or lineup, their legacy is an unyielding commitment to their muse and to the moment. “Sometimes our search leads to some uncomfortable conversations,” says founding member and keyboardist Brian Haas. “But at the end of the day, this is not a social experience: We’re here for the music. When the music stops, so do we…”
How else does one explain the past year’s full-force shift from a five-horn lineup steeped in classic jazz vocabulary to the endlessly resourceful, beat-driven, and richly harmolodic trio of Haas, Chris Combs (guitar, lap steel), and Josh Raymer (drums) that now calls itself the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey? The inspiration for the current edition, which makes its studio debut with the dynamic, multi-layer Worker – available October 14, 2014 via Royal Potato Family – lies somewhere between the past and the future.
“Much of the first large-level success the band saw was as a trio,” says Combs, a member since 2008. “And for the 20th anniversary of the band, we worked up a set of older material to celebrate that anniversary – a lot of which was from that trio era…”
“Those first trio rehearsals and gigs were a trip,” says Raymer, who came aboard in 2007, “because we were playing a lot of the music that Combs and I have loved since we were kids.” The result of that revisiting became the now sold-out, vinyl-only release Millions: Live in Denver – and a new direction forward.
“Combs and Raymer started listening to Jacob Fred when they were in middle school,” Haas explains, fondly. “To them, it’s a language they grew up with and they want to push forward. When they joined, I was able to share ownership of that language. It’s as much theirs as mine.”