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Now Hear This: From The Roots To The Sky - The J. & F. Band


Rating: ****

Jaimoe from the Allman Brothers and his pal, bassist Joe Fonda have a new project that goes beyond jazz fusion called The J. & F. Band and they have a new album out called "From the Roots to the Sky".

I always dug The Allman Brothers but I don't remember them being famous for their jazz fusion. I guess old Jaimoe had some tricks up his sleeve all those years.

I'm excited to review this because Johnny usually gets to check out the jazz-related stuff and he threw me a bone on this one.

You can check it out for yourself on Bandcamp below and then I'll critique it after that.

Listen to "From the Roots to the Sky" in its entirety on Bandcamp below:

So first impressions: This isn't traditional jazz music in the least. Nor is it rock music. This is long-form, pseudo-psychedelic, improvisational acid music. At least that's what opening number "GS#2" would have us believe. The second tune, "Spirits of the Great Plains" is equally long, but a much more structured affair. Thoughtful and well-played, it's not as exciting as track one but it's every bit as impactful. "West Buffalino" is experimental sounding, in the vein of Sun Ra. This isn't gonna be for everybody, but I find it fascinating and enjoyable even if it's a little too long. "Dixie Chicken/Mischief" is a funky little number and the first one to introduce the vocals of Joe Fonda to the party. Fun track. "Gone Too Soon" is a somber jazz track while "Roz See You on the Moon!" is a trippy little ditty that sounds straight out of The Outer Limits. "J. and F. Duet and Quartet" is incredible and versatile with structure being interrupted by improv before going right back into structured again. One of the highlight tracks on the album. "Super Jam" is loooooooong, but has enough variety to keep the listener interested.

Sun Ra and experimental jazz fans are gonna love most of this. I did. It's not for everybody, but personally, I found it fresh and engaging and would highly recommend it to the open-minded amongst us.