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University of Iowa News Release

Dec. 5, 2003

Oddbar, Now A Jazz Quintet, Will Give Family Concert Dec. 14

Oddbar, a faculty jazz ensemble of the University of Iowa School of Music, will present a free family concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14 in Clapp Recital hall on the UI campus.

The concert is part of the Target Family Concert series presented by the UI Arts Share program and supported by a grant from Target Stores, Inc. Future events in the Target Family Concert series will be performances by the Maia String Quartet in Clapp Recital Hall Jan. 24; and Dancers In Company in Space Place Theater March 6.

Guitarist Steve Grismore, one of the founding members of Oddbar, said the program will include jazz standards and a few Christmas songs as well. "This concert is for all people, but kids are encouraged to come," he said. "The concert will run only about one hour."

A chameleon ensemble that has gone through many colors, Oddbar has been on the UI jazz scene for several years. Having gone from a trio up to a quintet with several variations along the way, today the group is a faculty ensemble of the UI School of Music and features Brent Sandy, trumpet; Jim Dreier, drums; Bob Paredes, sax and clarinet; Israel Neuman, bass; and Steve Grismore, guitar.

Oddbar is extremely eclectic, performing a variety of musical styles, while its name reflects the fact that it takes unexpected sounds into local clubs and bars.

Their promotional material boasts, "Oddbar prides itself on developing an original repertoire that forges elements from various traditions with elements from our home turf of jazz. It is not an easy music to categorize, but one with a certain earthiness and unpredictability that makes it fun to play.

"Whenever we do a well known standard, we take it on as a project to 'odd-ify,' kind of like a beauty 'make-over'."

The group began in 1996 as a trio with Grismore, Sandy and Dreier. They thought of themselves as a creative chamber ensemble that could play a variety of contemporary styles, from straight ahead to free jazz. They played original music from all members of the trio, as well as their own unique arrangements of traditional jazz standards.

As the Oddbar Trio + Trombone, including UI Director of Jazz Studies John Rapson on trombone, they recorded their first CD on the Nine Winds label, "Lost Art Cafe," and played for the 1997 Iowa City Jazz Festival. Their festival performance was recorded by NPR for "Jazz Set," a nationally syndicated program hosted by Branford Marsalis and heard on more than 200 stations nationwide.

Oddbar's latest CD, "Odds and Ends," was released in 2002, and a new recording project with bassist Mark Urness, "Fungus Among Us," will be released in 2004. Oddbar was a featured performer at the 2002 Iowa City Jazz Festival.

The Dec. 14 concert by Oddbar is part of the Target Fall Community Concert Series presented by the UI Arts Share program and supported by a grant from Target Stores, Inc.

A program of the UI Division of Performing Arts, Arts Share provides artistic resources from the Iowa Center for the Arts to schools, local art councils, community arts associations, museums, senior citizen centers and other organizations throughout Iowa and the surrounding region. The Arts Share roster includes nearly 100 faculty and graduate students in music, theater, dance, the visual arts and creative writing.

For more information about the Target Fall Community Concert Series or Arts Share, contact Leslie Finer at 335-1618, or access the Arts Share website at

Arts Share and the UI School of Music are part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For information on UI arts events, visit on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072,