Something Else! sneak peek: The Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, “Betamax” from Worker (2014)

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The head-swaying march of Josh Raymer’s drums, the sprinkling of guitar lines by Chris Combs and the antediluvian synthesized blasts and bass buzzes from Brian Haas in a way hearken back to the days of when Betamax was battling VHS for the choice of video format. And this tune “Betamax” itself signals a return to a trio for The Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, an ever-evolving band twenty years old this year whose alumni association is now thirteen members strong.

JFJO co-founder Haas remains as the living connection to the early days when the band worked hard with creative ideas to make a name for itself, while Raymer and Combs keep the ensemble’s quest to go down lightly-travelled paths in progressive and modern jazz alive and robust. Combs’ intricate composing of the brilliant The Race Riot Suite (2011) already shows us that the newer guys are capable of taking the band to newer heights.

With this current lineup in place (officially debuted on the live EP Millions: Live In Denver from earlier this year), it’s time for a new direction for JFJO because that’s what they do, and do rather well. “Betamax” reconciles the resolute, icy precision of electronic music with the immediacy of fusion jazz, and makes its case in a tidy three-and-a-half minutes.

Is that the template in store for this latest permutation of JFJO? We’ll find out on October 14, 2014, when Jacob Fred’s latest LP Worker goes on sale through Royal Potato Family.

Here are upcoming JFJO tour dates in support of Worker:

Oct. 8 – Norman, OK – The Deli
Oct. 9 – Austin, TX – The Parish
Oct. 10 – Chelsea’s – Baton Rouge, LA (w/George Porter Jr.)
Oct. 11 – New Orleans, LA – Snug Harbor
Oct. 16 & 17 – Denver, CO – DazzleJazz
Oct. 18 – Santa Fe, NM – Santa Fe University of Art and Design
Oct. 21 – San Diego, CA – Winston’s
Oct. 22 – Los Angeles, CA – The Mint
Oct. 23 & 24 – Oakland, CA – Duende
Oct. 25 – Nevada City, CA – Crazy Horse
Oct. 26 – Petaluma, CA – Zodiacs
Oct. 28 – Cottage Grove, OR – The Ax and Fiddle
Oct. 29 – Zig Zag, OR – Skyway Bar and Grill
Oct. 30 – Portland, OR – The Goodfoot
Oct. 31 – Olympia, WA – Rhythm and Rye
Nov. 1 – Seattle, WA – Earshot Jazz Festival
Nov. 10 – Columbus, OH – Dick’s Den
Nov. 11 – Cleveland, OH – The Grog Shop
Nov. 13 – Cambridge, MA – The Lily Pad
Nov. 14 – New York, NY – Zinc Bar
Nov. 15 – Burlington, VT – Radio Bean

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on,, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at
S. Victor Aaron
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