It would be safe to assume Oddbar plays in different time signatures, have a unique sound stretching boundaries, and base their music on improvising. You'd be right on all three counts, for Oddbar have their own sound and style, borrowing from many jazz oriented sources and ethnic rhythms. You'll hear hard swing and free funk, dissonant and melodic tones, and a dizzying virtuosity that should hold your interest throughout. It's a quite enjoyable hour's worth of new music. The group is Brent Sandy, trumpet, flugelhorn, pocket trumpet; Steve Grismore, guitar; Jim Dreier, drums, percussion; and trombonist John Rapson. They're all very good, but Rapson puts them over the top. He has a full command of every sonic aspect of the 'bone, especially overtones and multi-phonics. Combined with Sandy's brass and the underpinnings of Grismore's treated guitar, they romp and stomp through most of these 12 tunes. There's the free funk of "Cletus Ngugu," an off kilter "Stompin' at the Savoy," a 5/4 cowboy groove on "Ode to Idaho," and a set-up ostinato blues line for the vertigo inducing "Suesy Bluesy." They tackle a tricky New Orleans shuffle in 6 and 9 beats per bar on "Cajun Mambo," "Psycho Cycle" is self-explanatory, and they interpret Thelonious Monk's "Monk's Mood" and Sun Ra's "A Call for All Demons" beautifully. Matt Wilson's "July Hymn" is more a slow rock anthem, while originals like "Little Ditty" and "Lost Art Cafe," written by Grismore and Sandy respectively, have their own unique, free-flowing originality. This CD has a sonic quality all its own, due to the brass instruments, muted or not. The musicianship is at a very high level, and the lack of bass, piano, and saxophones implores the music to speak in otherworldly, most times spooky tones. Recorded at the University of Iowa by Duke Marcos (producer of NPR's Jazzset radio program, ) this project has many redeeming qualities for open-minded listeners of creative, modern jazz with avant flourishes.
AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos