Thursday, August 7, 2008

jacob fred jazz odyssey

A few months back I found this record by the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey called "Lil' Tae Rides Again." If you haven't heard it, do so immediately. The Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey is a band that I knew previously as a sort of outside piano trio, maybe something like The Bad Plus. I never took too much interest in their music until I stumbled upon Lil' Tae, their most recent studio release. This was something altogether different than any kind of piano trio I had heard, and while I hate using genre terminology to describe music, it was closer to that Chicago post rock sound that Tortoise has. Partly because there was no acoustic piano, or at least very little acoustic piano. Anyway, I loved it. The whole record. Then they came to Iowa City maybe a month or so ago and played a great show at the Yacht Club. They played all the tracks from the record, and in the order of the record (if I remember correctly), but it sounded completely different from the record. Initially I was a little disappointed. The album has a lot of portions which I only found out recently were taken from a studio recording deconstructed and remixed into an altogether new blend of soundscapes. This album would be very difficult for a band having a history as a piano trio to recreate perfectly. The bands most recent live release, "Lil' Tae Rides Again/Live" (now as a quartet) is a compilation of some of the better takes of recent live recordings and is also definitely worth checking out.

I'm definitely hooked on this band now. They took a chance on their most recent work. They let producer Tae Meyulks completely reinvent their sound for the studio record, then embarked upon the major challenge of transcribing a bunch of heavily spliced and remixed tracks for live performance by an electro-acoustic ensemble of four musicians. The end result, to me, is this band becoming a lot more than another out-there piano trio. Good music for MORE people. Keep it comin'.

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