Review - Walking with Giants

Artist: Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey

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There's no reason for this trio to be as good as they are. With a locked-in fan base built upon years of relentless touring, JFJO should be able to coast along, Medeski Martin & Wood-style, flirting with jam-rock jazz and picking up the college kids along the way to the bank. But that is exactly what is not happening on Walking With Giants, an album that's full of solid, forward-looking playing dressed up with violent edges and improvisational bravado. By no means avant-garde, JFJO still manage to push a nominally standard sound – piano-anchored and post-modal – into exciting territories with unexpected changes and fiery bits of interplay between the three instrumentalists (a pianist, drummer and bassist). No B3 funk, no trippy melodies, no reggae beats; just the sort of jazz album that Charles Mingus could look down from heaven upon and smile.

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