This week, let's look at some videos featuring Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, who are coming back to St. Louis to perform next Saturday, February 1 at The Demo.
Formed in Tulsa, OK in 1994, JFJO are celebrating their 20th year as a band with, among other things, a set at the recently completed Winter Jazzfest in NYC, and having a craft beer named in their honor by Oklahoma’s Prairie Artisan Ales.
(They last appeared here in St. Louis in 2011 at Cicero's, and the subjects of a video showcase post then. Keyboardist and founding member Brian Haas also talked with yr. humble editor about the band's evolution in an interview published in the Riverfront Times.)
At that time, JFJO had recorded but not yet released The Race Riot Suite, an album of songs telling the story of a 1921 race riot in Tulsa that resulted in the death of hundreds of black Tulsans and the destruction of an entire city district.
The album featured the band's core lineup - Haas, Joshua Raymer (drums), Chris Combs (lap steel guitar, guitar) and Jeff Harshbarger (bass) - augmented by a five-member horn section that included Kansas City saxophonist Mark Southerland, who's since become an official member of the group, along with Jeff Coffin, Steven Bernstein, Peter Apfelbaum, and Matt Leland.
You can see that ensemble in the first clip up above, performing the Prelude" of The Race Riot Suite followed by the song Black Wall Street," both recorded at the suite's world premiere in May 2011 at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center.
Down below, there are clips of four more selections from The Race Riot Suite: The Burning" and Second Prayer," also from the world premiere; Grandfather's Gun," recorded in October 2011 at FTC StageOne in Fairfield, CT; and Eye of the Dove," again from the world premiere.
The sixth and final video features a solo improvisation from Haas, who now lives in Santa Fe, NM, and last fall released Frames, an album of original compositions performed as a duo with drummer Matt Chamberlain.