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Live Review: JFJO & Lafayette Gilchrist feat. The New Volcanoes @ the 8X10 (2009.04.16)

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MP3: Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey – Sean’s Song from Walking With Giants (2004)

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MP3: Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey – Oklahoma Stomp from Winterwood (2009)

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MP3: Lafayette Gilchrist – New Jack from New Jack (2005)

I showed up late to the 8×10, but fortunately for me so did JFJO. Due to their typical punishing road schedule, the band was arriving from Brooklyn (where they returned the following day to record an EP) and ran into congestion caused by an accident. This pushed the evening a little later than usual, but the band was gracious, the audience forgiving and all was well.

The 2009 FJO lineup is great. I was a little skeptical that Brian Haas (keyboards) would find someone who  could replace Jason Smart, one of my all-time favorite Ohio drummers, but I was pleasantly surprised by the versatility and rhythmic dimensionality that Josh Raymer brought to the show. He can pull a lot of rabbits out of the trick bag, ranging from hip hop break beats to straight swing.

Having Matt Hayes on upright bass is a welcome addition over the trio, since it provided a constant bottom end that could free up Brian’s left hand to do more intricate comping. For a group that plays a lot of free jazz, it’s nice to have a bass player with less of a melodic role that can hold the song together while Brian Haas is tormenting his Fender Rhodes (at last count in 2006 he told me he had played thirteen electric pianos to death).

JFJO recently released their album Winterwood for for free download

As for Lafayette and the New Volcanoes…nothing sounds like a real piano, but I was let down by the thin sound of the Kurtzwiel electric piano Lafayette played all night.

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