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Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey REUNION!

May 1 at 11:30 PM
May 1 at 11:30 PM
Tickets: $30 Early Bird / $35 Advance / $40 At The Door


Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey OG Trio REUNION!

Brian Haas – Keyboards

Reed Mathis – Bass

Jason Smart – Drums

Like most performing musicians in 2020, Reed Mathis found himself with time on his hands with all his tours cancelled for the foreseeable future. So Reed started digging through his storage unit and dusted off unreleased audio from his years with the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, a group that he helped found and performed with for nearly 15 years. Since departing from the ensemble after laying down tracks at the Winterwood Recording Studio in the Ozark mountains of Arkansas, Mathis felt disappointed that his last and favorite studio album recorded with JFJO was never released. And so the 2020 pandemic gave Mathis the impetus to remix and release the long-awaited Winterwood album, which has been hibernating for nearly 12 years. In addition, Reed compiled and curated additional live recordings of JFJO (or the Fred as they are sometimes known) into four new live albums from what some fans consider their golden years: 2005-2008. The music of Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey has never been easy to describe. At home at both jam band festivals and European jazz clubs, the group moved music enthusiasts despite never quite fitting into any musical genre. JFJO's approach in live performances could be considered risky with their free-form improvisations. Though the players were serious, the music was often playful, creative and spontaneous. Like their moniker Jazz Odyssey implies, throughout the group's history and even in a single performance, a listener might hear elements of traditional jazz, funk, punk, hip hop, psychedelic rock, ambient electronica and avant-garde soundscapes.

To commemorate the release of Winterwood and the four live albums, Mathis crafted a video with loads of archival photos, band posters and cover art to explain the origins and evolution of the JFJO ensemble and to describe the process of curating the new live albums and the creation of Winterwood. The video takes us to the band's beginnings in 1994 when many of the members were underage, to the late 1990s and early 2000s when the musicians were true road warriors performing up to 300 shows a year. Mathis's voiceover narration explains that during the Fred's myriad metamorphoses from a 7-piece group to a trio and the changeover of five different drummers, the two staple players for 15 years had been Brian Haas and Mathis. And then, in 2008, Reed left the band leaving Brian Haas as the remaining original Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey member.

The four new live albums each has its own theme, all with Brian Haas on keys and Reed Mathis on bass. The first three feature Jason Smart on drums. The Spark That Bled, recorded in 2005, focuses on songs and song-writing, with mostly instrumental jungle gym versions of covers with three originals. Nine Improvisations contains nine show-opening improvisations. For a time, JFJO opened every show with a totally improvised sonic landscape from the deep end of their unconscious minds. Speak No Evil contains graceful acoustic live recordings from their 2006 European tours, including jazz classics and some original tunes. Lil' Tae Rides Again features musicians Pete Tomshany and Josh Raymer playing live recordings of JFJO's electronic concept album about middle school with sound sculpture crafted in the digital realm of producer Tae Meyulks. And, finally, Winterwood features Mathis, Haas and drummer Josh Raymer. The studio album features many layers with Haas on solo acoustic piano initiating the flow with the "electric trio" recorded on top like a rhythm section. As each instrument was added on, the player was conducted by another member in a truly collaborative process. Afterwards, Mathis poured more energy into the album's post-production sneaking in additional nuances and gems.

In the last decade, the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey has released several albums with Haas, Raymer and Chris Combs on guitar and lap steel. The Fred's touring has slowed down, but Mathis and Haas stay busy. Brian Haas performs with Nolatet and the Mike Dillon Band and has become a regular in the New Orleans music scene. Since leaving JFJO, Mathis has produced four albums of his arrangements of Beethoven, and toured with his ensemble called Electric Beethoven. He made five colorful instrumental albums with pianist Marco Benevento. He is also one of the leaders of the Golden Gate Wingmen and plays with Billy and the Kids, a project spearheaded by drummer Bill Kreutzmann of the Grateful Dead.

Tonight’s historic show celebrates the reunion of the “OG” Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey Trio after nearly 15 years, and is sure to be one of the most talked-about shows of the entire 2022 Café Istanbul Nightfest. Come and get your groove on with the REUNION of the original Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey Trio!


“A breadth and vision nearly untouched in modern jazz except by the likes of Wayne Shorter and Bill Frisell.” – Signal to Noise

“This band was born out of a messianic devotion to the idea that jazz means improvisation. They thrive on risk, often creating spontaneous compositions onstage.” – Downbeat Magazine

“Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey weave the kind of impressionistic, imaginative new jazz that shatters any kind of identity, much less categories and classifications.” – Chicago Sun Times

“JFJO burns with a quiet intensity rather than dramatically explodes. The musicians play with a coiled looseness, improvising with quicksilver yet deliberate force. You can hear the band’s power and inventiveness creatively eroding structure, and the tension produced from that is exhilarating. If JFJO isn’t moving jazz forward, it is shifting its center of gravity interestingly askew.” – JazzTimes

“In my humble opinion, one of the most fascinating trios currently walking around on God’s green earth.” – SlagwerkKrant

“When it comes to doing things differently, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey is right at the forefront. This trio of creative minds has come up with one of the best releases of 2005.” – All About Jazz NYC

“The Sameness of Difference is a post-modern jazz masterwork, a disc that will still seem fresh in five years even though it also seems right in the present moment.” – Jazzitude Magazine

“It swings, it sways, but the jazz trio form in their hands has an almost primitive, insideyour-head, idiosyncratic quality to it that suggests the three are truly one.” – Downbeat Magazine

“You’ll be hearing a lot about Reed Mathis from the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, because he’s doing innovative stuff.” – Les Claypool, Bass Player Magazine

“JFJO - a band unwilling to compromise their creativity for the mainstream ear - has developed a constantly evolving sound unlike virtually anything on today’s market.” – Jambase

“You cats are pushing jazz forward in a brand new direction. Thank you.” – Jazz Legend Cecil Taylor

“With Haas’ multi-threat of Fender Rhodes electric and traditional acoustic piano, melodica and keyboards and Mathis ready to play cello, six string guitar or bass with effects pedals, JFJO can sound like several different musical units.” – Downbeat Magazine 


Tickets: $30 Early Bird / $35 Advance / $40 At The Door


The Fine Print:

By purchasing a ticket to this event, the buyer agrees to be filmed, videotaped and/or otherwise recorded for possible inclusion in webcast, digital download, DVD and/or CD release, and/or any other exploitation of the event without limitation or compensation of any kind, and agrees to allow organizers to use his/her image and/or likeness without limitation or compensation of any kind.


By purchasing this ticket, you confirm to the maximum extent permitted by law that (1) you understand and voluntarily assume all risks associated with attending this performance, including but not limited to COVID-19, and (2) you covenant not to sue Café Istanbul Nightfest, Poolside Presents, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey or any related persons or entities in connection with any such risks.

For a list of other shows happening during the Café Istanbul Nightfest, click here: POOLSIDE PRESENTS