KDHX review of St.Louis show
There is an old joke that jazz is five musicians playing five different songs at the same time. Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey managed to both prove and disprove that statement during their set at 2720 Cherokee on Saturday.
Miles Davis’ “Bitches Brew” was in full swing over the sound system when local rockers Something in the Water took the stage and did a brief sound check before beginning their set. They ran through a 45-minute set of jazz-tinged blues-rock. Often sounding like a cross between Stone Gossard and Jimi Hendrix, Wayne Kimler handled his guitar like a pro. I was impressed with how clean the guitar tone was throughout the set, especially with some of the fuzz-laden and overdriven sections.
Drummer Kevin Helmsing pounded the skins as well as handled the vocals, keeping great time and adding some nice fills without overpowering the rest of the group. Bassist Ben Wheeler had the groove well in place, but some of his high-end sound was lost in the mix. He was knocking out some tasty upper register notes and four string chords, but everything above the 12th fret on the A and E strings was inaudible.
Despite some minor power issues (it looked like the bass/drums were vibrating the leads for Wayne’s pedal board out of the power strip), Something in the Water knocked out a pleasant, groove-laden set.
After a short delay, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey set up shop and proceeded to blow minds and offer new perspectives for the next two hours. JFJO has been in existence for 18 years and has 21 albums under its belt. Despite having such a long history and catalog of music, it is still nearly impossible to describe them. You can call their performances experimental, improvisational or avant-jazz, but those terms don’t even begin to scratch the surface.