Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey’s 27th release in 21 years, The Battle For Earth, is a mind-melting, particle-reorganizing trip through time and space. Manipulated loops, electronics and synthesizers are juxtaposed with grand piano, guitar, and lap steel. Recorded live at Dazzle in Denver, CO, the live album finds JFJO planted firmly in their own language and mythology. Expanding on newer material from 2014’s release, Worker, alongside classic tunes like “Tetherball Triumph” and “Sean’s Song,” the band’s fractal arrangements and tonalities are redefined as they explore the sonic freedom the current lineup relishes. Far from being a traditional trio, JFJO founder/keyboardist Brian Haas simultaneously plays Moog bass and grand piano, throwing in melodica and other synths while guitarist Chris Combs bounces between guitar, lap steel and various synthesizers, making the trio sound like a much larger ensemble. Drummer Josh Raymer’s meta-modern drum stylings push, pull and shake the foundation.
JFJO will release the recording as a digital download that’s part of a limited edition comic book. Conceived by Combs and brought to life by artist Joe Cappa, the comic is a Sci-fi-jazz epic—equal parts “Space Is The Place” and “Yellow Submarine.” Flying elk, helpful aliens, evil space beasts, and lots of free-jazz-powered weaponry make The Battle For Earth an intriguing piece of JFJO’s 21+ year history.
JFJO have navigated 21 years, 16 members, 27 albums and countless tours around the world on their way to becoming an institution in modern music. Defined by evolution and change, the band has invented its own language, one which permeates JFJO’s sound regardless of configuration. Beginning in Tulsa, OK in 1994 as a funky octet with MCs and horns, JFJO became an instrumental trio in 1999, a quartet in 2007, and expanded to a 9-piece ensemble for 2011’s acclaimed Race Riot Suite. Celebrating their 20th anniversary in 2014, the band returned to the trio setting with two new albums on the revered Brooklyn record label, Royal Potato Family. For Record Store Day, JFJO offered Millions: Live In Denver, a seven-track live recording. It featured new arrangements of old fan favorites from throughout the band’s history. Available exclusively as a limited edition LP, the pressing sold out on the day of its release. Later that year, JFJO dropped Worker, a new studio collection.
With Brian Haas on acoustic piano/Fender Rhodes/bass Moog and synth, Chris Combs on electric guitar/lap steel and synth and Josh Raymer on drums, the current iteration of JFJO is making the most progressive and immediate music in its history.