Fans of the Oklahoma music scene should all know the popular instrumental group, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, who are set to release their 27th album, The Battle For Earth, in the fall of 2015. 

JFJO has been a staple in the Tulsa music scene for over 20 years. In 1994, Brian Haas and Reed Mathis created the band with the intent on playing purely instrumental based jazz that draws heavily on influences from other genres such as rock, hip hop and funk. The critically acclaimed group has headlined shows and festivals all over the world, winning numerous of awards in the process. 

Like most talented, long lasting bands, JFJO’s sound has evolved tremendously throughout the years. They have always clung to their roots of eccentric jazz music, however. In the early days, hip hop was the strong influence before they adapted more funk and rock into their sound. In 2008, they adopted an electronica sound for their record, Lil’ Tae Rides Again. With their most recent work, The Battle For Earth, the rock influence is ever apparent due to a brilliant use of the electric guitar on tracks like “Betamax”. 

Because JFJO has been creating music and touring the world for more than two decades, it comes as no surprise that many members have come and gone. In fact, there have been 16 members since their inception. One of those former members is Tulsa bassist, Matt Hayes, who spent two years with the group from 2009-2010. On his time with the group, he explains that he “learned a lot about the music business and how to deal with people in the business from Brian [Haas]. The man is a tornado of self motivation and that’s how you have to be in music. He has that ever burning fire that successful people have to have”. 

Founders Haas and Mathis amicably parted ways with each other in 2009. In regards to the musical divorce, Haas says that the two “didn’t have any drama. We were just tired of…playing with each other. It was a thing that we communicated to each other…and we never looked back”. Haas continues to showcase his talents through JFJO and Mathis has since moved on to a number of other projects. 

With no signs of slowing down, JFJO continues to produce outstandingly unique and refreshingly original jazz influenced recordings. They are truly a band to be conscious of if you have any interest in the Oklahoma music scene. They have three performances in Oklahoma later this month and then are hitting the road for shows in Missouri, Louisiana, New Mexico, Colorado and the entire West Coast.