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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 16, 2004

Oddbar, Now A Quartet, Will Play Free Concert Oct. 3

Oddbar, a jazz ensemble that has kept the same creative personality while taking on different forms from trio to quintet, will give a free concert as the Oddbar Quartet at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 3, in Harper Hall of the University of Iowa Voxman Music Building. The program will be announced at the performance.

Current members of the group are Brent Sandy, trumpet; Steve Grismore, guitar; James Dreier, drums; and Mark Urness, bass. Over the past eight years, players have come and gone to fit different contexts, but Sandy, Grismore and Dreier have been the core of Oddbar from the beginning.

While the membership has evolved, the group has always been interested in exploring many styles of music -- and current events -- for inclusion in an eclectic approach to jazz. Original compositions and strong improvisational elements are always a prominent part of Oddbar performances.

"Oddbar prides itself on developing an original repertoire that forges elements from various traditions with elements from our home turf of jazz," the group has proclaimed. "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'."

To date, Oddbar has recorded three CDs. In 1997 they joined with trombonist John Rapson to make their first recording, "Lost Art Cafe." Their second CD, "Odds and Ends," was released in 2002, and the current group of players released "Fungus Among Us" earlier this year.

In addition to these recordings, Oddbar's performance at the 1997 Iowa City Jazz Festival was recorded by NPR for "Jazz Set," a nationally syndicated program hosted by Branford Marsalis and heard on more than 200 stations nationwide.

Grismore, Sandy and Dreier all teach in the jazz program at the UI School of Music. Urness is a former UI graduate student and teaches at the music conservatory at Lawrence University, in Appleton, Wis.

The School of Music is 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,