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Reed Mathis of Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Planet Boulder, Sep 28, 2002.

  1. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    Most of you have probably never heard of these guys (you can check them out at www.jfjo.com ), but Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, a sort of avant garde, improv acid jazz-ish (hard to categorize them) three piece from Oklahoma, features quite possibly the most original sounding, innovative bassist I have ever heard in Reed Mathis.

    Caught them last night for the first time and I didn't know what to expect. The band consists of keys (Fender Rhodes & some rather bizarre sounding other equipment), drums and bass. When they started to play, I was hearing what sounded like a screaming lead guitar solo backed by a solid walking bassline. From my vantage point, I just assumed that Reed was playing this nice bassline and that the keyboard player was jamming the solo on one of his machines. As I got a closer look, I saw that it was actually the keyboard player playing the bassline and Reed playing this almost Hendrix-like solo on his beat up Fender Jazz(!). He was using a crybaby pedal and God knows what else to simulate a lead guitar sound and he was insane! Does not play with a pick and no, he's not a converted guitar player. Later in the shw, he switched to his fretless and played some mind-numbing leads on it as well.

    Anyway, throughout the show, this dude basically blew my mind, so much so that I had to work my way to the front just to watch him play. He played a chord-filled solo at one point that literally left my jaw wide open - I can honestly say that I have never seen nor heard any bassist play chords like the guy. Whether it was chords, solos, sick lines or even some Claypool-derivative techniques, Mathis just basically brought the house down. People around me could not believe what they were seeing.

    He had three basses - 2 beat up modified Fender Jazzes (one fretted, one fretless) and a sort of bizarre looking, custom acoustic. His setup featured an Ashdown x15 combo and an old GK cab.

    So, considering the fact that this post has been long enough, I'll stop drooling here. If anyone gets the chance to see this guy, you will not be disappointed. I remarked to a friend at the show last night that the only guy I had seen live who blew my mind that much was Vic Wooten. Seriously.

    Oh, and he's only freaking 26(!).
  2. Les Claypool mentions him as a bass player "you'll be hearing a lot about" in his latest Bass Player magazine interview.
  3. I heard Reed play with Mike Clarke, the JFJO keyboardist and a really really sick 11 fretless guitar player (Reaallly Cool). an absolutly awesome show

    He definitly has a very unique sound, i'd like to know what pedals he's using. The guy's simply amazing and he definitly blows you away

    I also got that same effect hearing him the first time... you'll hear some melody or solo and be like "What the hell? Whos doing that?? Thats f'in awesome!"

    The keyboardist to JFJO is a whackjob. Fun to watch tho
  4. There was a short article on Reed Mathis in BP a couple of months ago. Then the band came to Atlanta, and I didn't go. Wish I had, now..
  5. I saw him with Mike Clark and Fareed Haque back in June and was, overall, not particularly impressed. His tone was dreadfully muddy--and he kept asking for less treble out in the mains.

    I mean, yes, his solos were amazing; clearly, he's spent a long time in the woodshed. But as a groover and harmonic anchor, the guy from the opening band (Monatomic) was a lot more solid.

    I actually left the Mike Clark show about a half-hour before the set ended--there just wasn't enough musical coherence. Haque was pretty killer, though.
  6. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    Pete - perfectly understandable. Reed's is a unique style and tone which begs for an acquired taste, especially if you don't know what you are getting into when you see JFJO.

    By the way, hope you don't mind - I had to "borrow" that Abercrombie quote from you to use as a sig line on another board I frequent (my alma mater's board). Hope you don't mind. I give you full credit when asked about it.

    A quote like that just deserves to be spread amongst the masses! :)
  7. I shook the mans hand last nite!!
    yea , yahoo for me :D

    Second time seeing him play, it was a blast, but nothing new. Reed is a super friendly guy, along with the rest of jfjo.

    an interesting thing: Reed was playing an acoustic bass with a pickup -- just a little bit out of the ordinary... Only time i ever see those things used is in mtvs unplugged. pretty cool
  8. fadlan bassman

    fadlan bassman

    Oct 23, 2001
    I went to a show they had in Austin a few months ago. I was not prepared for the sound coming off the stage, it was a pretty good show and I want to see them again. The whacked out sound of the bass was interesting.
  9. misterk73


    Apr 11, 2002
    Flagstaff, AZ
    I've seen JFJO a number of times and have always been very impressed. I can see where Reed might have trouble holding it down when not playing with JFJO, but I think he's amazing within the context of that particular trio. Maybe the extra coverage possible with keyboards as opposed to guitar makes up for Reed's lack of groove/anchorage? Either way, I love hearing and watching the guy play...
  10. TaySte_2000


    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    I read about him abit ago and he says he uses the digitech whammy pedal but just the guitar version and he says cos its a cheap effect he uses the wah pedal to hone the tone for each note hes playing so it actually sounds good.

    Who knows I could be wrong.

    Hope this helps
  11. Muzique Fann

    Muzique Fann Howzit brah

    Dec 8, 2003
    Kauai, HI
    Yes - I can't believe I didn't see this post earlier. I've seen so many people absolutely lose their minds when these guys start playing. Not only is Reed a very unique player but that whole band is just re-inventing jazz. So original that it hurts. I think a lot of people (mainly non-musicians) get turned off by their pyscho-classical style or weird noises - but that's too bad. They are all monsters on their instruments. It would be nice to see them in little bars forever, but I think soon they'll be playing in bigger venues. The only other guy that I can think of that even comes close to playing so "differently" is Chris Wood. Nobody plays a bass like these guys.

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