Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, The Goodfoot Lounge, Portland, OR- 12/11
Singing the word, "ketchup" as if it were the sexiest word in the English language, Leslie Helpert opened for Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey. She played the musician's version of a crazy lady throwing cats with musical spoken word.
JFJO started with an improvisation titled, "Non-Smoking" in appreciation of the Goodfoot Lounge keeping the venue smoke-free for the night. The bass purged through Reed Mathis as if liberating sound from his open mouth. Spastic and convulsing with music, Brian Haas seethed over the keys. His hyperactive fingers moved like the blurs of cartoon feet preparing to run. Under Jason Smart's limbs the drums launched musical thunder like handfuls of paint onto a canvass. Tossing each one with intensity and intention, every vibration had a name. The entire band formed each note in this manner, like the bleeding splotches of a Monet. The complex intricacy of this aural art enabled JFJO to play with the spaces between the music as much as the music itself (cherries in a spinach casserole slipped into the mix).
I wanted to dance at times, but feared my limbs would follow their music too closely and kick out from under me, or jab me in the gut with unexpected twists and flails inspired by the music. There was a moment when I almost trusted myself to sway to the dark magic sounds of "Lola and Alice", but I've heard them play too many times to trust that they would interlace jazzonic symphonies, with intense chaotic explosions, in any manner resembling the word "smooth". So I sat, in awe, digesting the tumultuous casserole of daybreak seducing rhythm.