Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey 11.15.13

Dazzle Restaurant and Lounge
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By J-man

Denver is a magical town of music, culture and art. For many musicians, Dazzle is the epicenter of their creative output. For fans, Dazzle is a place to experience an array of fascinating musical performances and incredible evenings. In further support of the previous notions, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey recorded two nights of music at Dazzle to be released as an album. The empty seats filled up quickly with the waitstaff buzzing around the room in organized chaos, as the musicians took the stage. There was more excitement and back and forth banter that evening than at a typical Dazzle show. Music Directer Kevin Lee took the stage, as he always does, and welcomed everyone to Dazzle before turning it over to Brian Haas (keys). A big sip from a bottle of Pelligrino and the newly secured trio version of Jacob Fred was on their way!

The music was an incredible mix of jazz from the depths of the listener's imagination and jam that involved improvisation between the flawlessly executed lines and phrasing. Haas leapt out of his seat on many occasions, even knocking it to the ground while abusing the grand piano, as well as his electric keys. Chris Combs (guitar) read Haas and hit every note that he intended with screaming perfection. Combs' solos were intense, shredding and reflected a side of his playing that I had yet to see. The sonic out put and flow between Haas and Combs was captivating and had me sitting on the edge of my seat, while Josh Raymer (drums) picked up the pieces and held the madness together with a beat that the capacity room could groove to... at times. The trio was loose and jammy featuring extended solos when it so desired and as tight as most jazz ensembles throughout the note for note melodies.

The band felt the perfect fit for the intimate room, however, their sound was so massive that they could easily fit into a large rock room or festival style environment. Comfortable banter turned into larger than life musical arrangements with Haas at the helm. His ability to shatter the keys while holding down a heavy bass line on the synth drew me further and further. As the evening wound down, the music offered no suggestion of its eventual turn towards the end. Instead, Dazzle was treated to a raging set of music from start to finish. JFJO is firing on all cylinders and currently sounds as good as they have ever sounded. As a fan of music and a writer, it's a tough pressure to have to capture the gravity of a show in just words on a page. Luckily the two nights/four sets of music (or portions of) will be released as an album. Rightfully so.

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