Brian Haas (born March 18, 1974) is an American jazz pianist, composer, band leader, and producer best known as the founding member and leader of the band Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey.
Brian Haas spent his formative years in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma - a suburb of Tulsa. He began studying classical piano at age 5 and quickly gained attention at the local and regional levels for winning piano competitions at a young age. At age 16, Brian won the Oklahoma Concerto Competition and performed with the Tulsa Philharmonic nine times in the Tulsa metro area. After graduating Broken Arrow High School with honors, Brian was awarded a full tuition music scholarship at The University of Tulsa. In a 2008 interview from the TU Alumni Magazine Haas said "It was hard not to notice how much fun the guys in the jazz program were having. They were always hanging and jamming together, and there was a very communal vibe to it. I was immediately attracted to it." While attending TU, he began playing with the school's many jazz ensembles and discovered that jazz seemed to come more naturally than the classical music he had been playing his whole life.
In 1993, during his sophomore year at TU, Brian founded The Sphere Jazz Quartet with Sean Layton, Matthew Leland and Dove McHargue. During the summer of 1994, Haas was accepted to attend The Aspen Music Festival and School to study composition with Lucas Foss. After spending that summer within the confines of classical aesthetics, he decided to focus only on jazz and Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey was started with the Sphere Jazz Quartet line-up plus Reed Mathis, Rod Mackey, Matthew Edwards and Kyle Wright. Almost immediately, JFJO found national acclaim with its second release, Live in Tokyo.
1999 to 2009
In 1999, after four years of constant touring, JFJO became a trio, secured record, management and agency deals all within a six-month period, and suddenly the jazz band from Tulsa was playing the biggest jazz clubs & festivals in America and touring with many of their heroes. From 2000 to 2004, JFJO averaged nearly 250 performances a year in Canada and the U.S. In late 2004, the now nationally renowned ensemble secured a record deal with a sister company of Rykodisc called Hyena Records. With their critically acclaimed albums being distributed worldwide, JFJO was now playing all over the world to huge crowds.
In Spring of 2005 Brian was offered a record deal under his own name with Rykodisc / Hyena Records and released his first-ever solo piano record, The Truth About Hollywood. After the release of his solo album in 2005, Haas toured North America under his own name, playing to ecstatic crowds including sold out shows at the Blue Note NYC & Zeitgeist Gallery in Boston, MA amongst others. The first half of the tour, in the midwest, had the lineup of Haas on keys, Jason Fraticelli on upright bass, Jason Smart on drums, and Mark Southerland on saxophone & homemade horns. Special guests included Fareed Haque at the Hot House in Chicago. The second half of the tour, on the East Coast, included a varied lineup of players with a core of Haas, Southerland, & Fraticelli; guests included Marco Benevento, Joe Russo, Skerik, Mike Dillon, Elliot Levin, Marc Friedman, Cochemea Gastelum, & numerous others.
Throughout 2006 in addition to constant work with JFJO, Haas toured as a founding member of The Dead Kenny G's, consisting of Skerik on Saxophone/effects, Mike Dillon on percussion / drumkit, & Brian Haas on Rhodes/Effects. 2007 and 2008 saw JFJO working on and releasing Lil' Tae Rides Again, their last Hyena release and Haas's first attempt at true studio production. The album is widely regarded as an electronica masterpiece and earned the band 4 Stars in Downbeat.
Summer 2009 found Haas releasing his second solo piano album, entitled Petting Sounds. The album is an improvised symphony for solo piano that was recorded in one continuous session. The album was recorded in Ojai, California in 2008 at the (now defunct) Institute for Universal Healing Arts with the same UA mixing board that was used for the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds. The album was produced by Teddy Jack Russell and Brian Haas.
In September 2009 JFJO released the EP 'One Day in Brooklyn', executive production by Haas. The EP marked the debut of the new quartet lineup in the studio setting as well as the first release on JFJO's new record label, Kinnara Records, which is distributed by Sony Red/MRI. The new quartet lineup, album, and tour have received rave reviews from Billboard and Down Beat to the New York Times and the LA Weekly.
2010 to present day
With the addition of Combs on lap steel and Jeff Harshbarger on upright bass, JFJO has perhaps invented its own genre: Red Dirt Jazz. This new sound is equal parts earthy and nimble, pastoral and sweeping, elegant and rollicking. JFJO is tapping into their birthright, drawing upon "The Tulsa Sound" born of hometown heroes like Bob Wills, JJ Cale, and Leon Russell. These roots grow up into a jazz foundation that's built firmly upon the likes of Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, and Thelonious Monk.
In 2010 Haas played on and executive produced JFJO's The Sensation of Seeing light, a 7" vinyl single, for Record Store Day in April, as well as the JFJO LP "Stay Gold" on both CD & double 12" vinyl in June. In October 2010, after the last JFJO tour of the year, Haas played a number of duo shows around Los Angeles with DJ Jeremy Sole, including the KCRW Halloween Ball and an opening set for Beats Antique.
In January 2011 JFJO recorded a suite of music based on the Tulsa Race Riot. The Race Riot Suite debuted live on May 20, 2011 with two sets performed by the album's complete line-up (JFJO and guest horns) to a packed house at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center. In Fall of 2012 The Race Riot Suite reached #1 on the CMJ Jazz chart. The North American album release tour included two nights at the Jazz Standard in NYC, the Boom Boom Room in San Francisco, the University of California, San Diego, as well as a performances at Montreal Jazz Festival, High Sierra Music Festival, & the Bear Creek Music Festival.
Time Out New York says that "...the 12-part suite pinballs between majestic melodies, free improv and ragged New Orleans rhythms, sometimes all within the same song...expect a heavy dose of history, but an even heavier dose of forward-looking, down-home jazz."
In February 2012 Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey released a special series of A & B side digital releases. These lo-fi unmastered tracks capture a raw, distilled, and reconstructed version of The Race Riot Suite material. The A Side will be a solo piano version of a song from The Race Riot Suite as interpreted by Brian Haas. The B Side will have a remixed version of the A Side as produced by The Race Riot Suite producer, Costa Stasinopoulos.
In January 2013 Haas will enter the studio with drummer Matt Chamberlin. The session will be produced by Costa Stasinopoulos.
Throughout the years Haas has played with innumerable musicians including Bill Frisell, Scott Amendola, Charlie Hunter, Stanton Moore, John Scofield, Galactic, moe., Bonerama, Marco Benevento, Les Claypool, Kirk Joseph, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Rebirth Brass Band, Mike Dillon, Skerik, Johnny Vidacovich, Karl Denson, Joe Russo, Mike Clark, George Garzon, Brad Barr, Marc Friedman, Joseph "Zigaboo" Modileste, Andrew Barr, Annie Ellicott, Mark Southerland, Jason Fraticelli, Elliot Levin, Cochemea Gastelum, John Ellis, Bluetech, Eskmo, Welder, Vibesquad, Robin Eubanks, and many many others.
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Brian Haas's Upcoming Concerts
Brian Haas has not listed any upcoming shows. Check Brian Haas's website