Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey: “Black Wall Street”[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/02-Black-Wall-Street.mp3|titles=Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey: “Black Wall Street”]
Race Riot Suite is a new long-form work from Tulsa, Oklahoma-based jazz-fusion quartet Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey. The record was written by lap-steel guitarist Chris Combs, who has taken a large songwriting role since founding member Reed Mathis departed in 2009. A wealth of guest contributors helped in the recording process, and the album’s formidable horn presence comes courtesy of Jeff Coffin (Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, Dave Matthews Band), Steven Bernstein, Peter Apfelbaum, Mark Southerland, and Matt Leland.
The album addresses an oft-overlooked, racially charged incident that took place in 1921. The track above, “Black Wall Street,” refers to the affluent, largely African American neighborhood in Tulsa where a day-long conflict saw 800 people hospitalized and 35 city blocks destroyed by bombs. As racial tensions escalated, and the prospect of a lynching loomed, violence broke out outside the town courthouse and rapidly spread across the city — culminating in an aerial assault that was reportedly launched to help neutralize the nonexistent “Negro uprising.”
The suite was performed in its entirety at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center in May, and JFJO will tour the US in the fall, following the release of the album.