HT Review: JFJO Gets On The Goodfoot

Das Vibenbass took over the basement club on time at 9:30.  I cannot remember ever seeing a combo made up of drums, upright bass, tenor sax and vibraphone in concert.  Well, I can’t say that anymore, because this is what Das Vibenbass came to play with.  They started slowly, but, behind the great fingers of Geoff Larson on bass, built a solid foundation and fused nicely midway through the first song.  Justin Sorenson, the vibe player, informed us afterwards, that the title of the piece we had just heard was Scarecrow’s Bloody Fucking Eyeballs.  Gotta love a band with those people skills.

This combination of instruments, while intriguing at first, played out very well.  The lower end on the saxophone (Josh Clifford) blended smoothly with the bass notes, while the double percussion of drums (J.C. Bockman) and Sorenson’s vibes played out intricate rhythms of their own.  At times chaotic, at others meshed together like egg beater blades, humming along and firing on all cylinders, these four musicians bounced notes off each other like they were darts.  Jamming through several cuts they stretched each tune as far as they could.  At one point, Sorenson took two cello bows and used these to play the vibes.  Rubbing them along the ends of the vibes, the bows created an eerie twitter that blended in sort of like good feedback can help a guitar solo.  Only, he had magnificent control and sounded perfect.  Sort of like Jimmy Page did, except with vibraphones.  They finished with a song titled What Kind Of Man Are You If You Can’t Share Your Addictions.  Not a bad song, I thought.  It ran the gamut of light and breezy to heavy, bass riddled melodies.

The stage at the Goodfoot is actually the old dance floor, off to one side and walled in by giant mirrors and curtains.  It is barely an inch higher than the indoor/outdoor carpet glued to the concrete floor that the audience occupies during the music.  Between acts, fans, roadies and band members seem to congregate here, discussing the gig, loading in or out, and such.  It gets difficult to tell who is who up there at times.  So it was that I was surprised when the music began.  It literally looked like the party was just breaking up with people meandering back to their seats, while others disappeared behind a curtain and still others picked up instruments and began the show.  Pretty low key.

Light and airy and soft, the beginning of the tune drifted a bit and took me a while to catch.  It seemed like so much background music until Josh Raymer started to pound the drums with reckless abandon.  The energy he brought at that moment transferred to the rest of the band (Brian Haas on piano, Rhodes, moog.  Matt Hayes on upright bass.  Chris Combs on lap steel and guitar.)

Once I figured out who was going to stay on stage and perform, the whole thing came together quickly.  They had fun onstage; playing a new song they said embodied two of their heroes, Dr. Dre and Beethoven.  The song was called, you guessed it, Dre-toven and it was a hoot to witness.  Haas had warned us that they hadn’t played it often and that they would probably leave out the parts they couldn’t handle.  It actually got a bit intense toward the end, with some great interplay between Hayes’ upright bass and Haas’ organ tantrums.  They wound up at about the same place, though taking extremely different routes to get there, and I couldn’t have been more impressed.

They took a new look at some standards by Duke Ellington (a boisterous Oklahoma Stomp) and Louis Armstrong (the pro cannabis ditty, The Song Of The Vipers).  These two songs appear on their latest release, Winterwood, which can be downloaded for free at their site .

JFJO stuck pretty close to this new disc for this show, which was fine with me.   One song that really stayed with me was Dove’s Army Of Love.  Upbeat and anthemic for the most part, I again appreciated the drum work of Raymer and how fluidly he and Haas keyboards meshed.  This tune belonged to them and they owned it.

They ended the night with the pairing of Country Girl (not much ‘country’ here, if you know what I mean) and The Slip, also from the new album.  At the end of this song, they quietly put their instruments down and the band and crowd began to mingle again, like one big party.

And just like that, an hour and a half had slipped by and I had a new favorite for the old mp3 player.  Between The Song Of The Vipers and The Slip, I can make the trek to work in half the time.  Try it and see.  Download the FREE album, put Vipers on the headphones and start walking.  You will be cruising along like a bike messenger without wheels, lost in the beat and making time.

Rock on through the fog~
A.J. Crandall

Related Content

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recent Posts

New to Glide

Keep up-to-date with Glide