Odd Meters
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Odd Meters

Brevard, North Carolina, United States | SELF

Brevard, North Carolina, United States | SELF
Band Jazz Funk


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"Review: Odd Meters "Uncommon Denominator""

Eight-string guitarist Jon Morrow and drummer/vibraphonist Shane Parreco make up the highly original duo The Odd Meters. Based out of North Carolina, they play an intoxicating mixture of jazz, funk, and Latin music, all with a unique twist - they specialize in writing compositions in (you guessed it) odd time meters. On their first full length release Uncommon Denominator, the band is augmented by some local heavyweights - Jeff Sipe on drums, Kofi Burbridge on flute, Mike Seal on guitar, Stephen K. Wilson on trombone, and Jason Maloney on percussion. Simply put, it's an addictive, funkified jazz album that grows on you with each listen.

When you think of 8-string guitar, you can't help but think of Charlie Hunter. However, if there's any semblance to Hunter's music here, it's in the grooves more than the guitar playing. Morrow can hold down the bottom in a bass-free setting as well as Hunter can, but his style is all his own. His ability to deliver bass lines, chords, and upper-register melodies, all at the same time, is continually impressive throughout Uncommon Denominator.

Though there's plenty of great playing here from Morrow and everyone else, the compositions themselves are what draw you in. It's my feeling that in some settings, particularly in western music where it's not as common, odd meter writing can come off as gimmicky. It can be quite jarring when a band shoe-horns in a section of, say, 5 or 7, just because they can. The Odd Meters never overplay their hand in that regard. Whatever meter they happen to be working in "works" in every song. There are odd-time rhythms on Uncommon Denominator, such as in "5 Fingers 3 Feet" for example, where the groove is so easy to latch onto that you hardly notice it's not 4/4. In other tracks, such as the opener "Fortie" (a 5/4 piece), the odd rhythm has a subtle trance-like quality. While listening to this disc, I never got that out-of-sorts "Where's the one?" feeling I get from some odd time music I've heard. Mind you, this is not an album of wall-to-wall odd time songs; some traditional meters are utilized also, such as in the super-funky "Gummy Worm," and the closer "Busted Trampoline" (which has a nice drum solo by Parreco).

Beyond their choice of time signatures, the band's stylistic choices never feel out of place either. It's all jazz, make no mistake; but it's often flavored with other ingredients. I was particularly drawn in by the band's explorations into Latin music ("Azteca," "Coble Vensualez"), and funk ("5 Fingers 3 Feet," "Gummy Worm," "Busted Trampoline"). They even dabble with Indian influences for the dreamy "Ragamatra," which has some of Morrow's best chordal and octave playing on the album.

Kofi Burbridge's flute work needs to mentioned, as it's a perfect match for the Odd Meters' music. On the three tracks he guests on ("Fortie," "Double Positive," and "Azteca"), his dynamic lines really heighten the mood, especially when he's doubling Parreco's vibes. The other guests make great contributions as well - "Gummy Worm" in particular has some nice playing from Mike Seal (guitar) and Stephen K. Wilson (trombone) that greatly enhances the tune. The always-impressive Jeff Sipe plays drums on a couple of tracks, and, not surprisingly, lays down some great stuff. (Both Morrow and Parreco studied under Sipe at Brevard College in North Carolina.)

Uncommon Denominator is one of those albums that could easily reside in your music player of choice for a long time, as it delivers a particular, unique vibe you'll keep going back for again and again. That vibe is a certain "fun factor" that stems from the enthusiasm and creativity with which the Odd Meters play their music. Highly recommended for fans of well-played, funky jazz. - http://guitar-channel.com

"Odd Meters EP"

Blending in elements of Latin jazz and worldbeat, Morrow offers a unique delivery on a hybrid 8-string bass/guitar. Paired with drummer/ percussionist/ producer Shane Parreco, the results are globally aware, free-flowing and minimalist. From the opening strains of "Fortie" to the inquisitive "Darjeeling," Odd Meters is pretty hot. - Cool Cleveland Magazine

"Odd Meters - Uncommon Denominator CD"

August 25th, 2009 | Posted by: leeway
The Odd Meters present an eclectic, refined combination of jazz, jam, and world music with this 2009 studio release.
Jon Morrow and Shane Parreco of the Odd Meters first met at Brevard College in 2003 while studying music under the tutelage of Jeff Sipe and Dr. Laura Franklin. With Morrow playing a hybrid 8 string guitar / bass, and Parreco offering his chops on drums, percussion, and vibraphone, the duo offers robust, mature jams on the tracks of this album. The album features several guest musicians, including Jeff Sipe (Keller Williams, ARU, and others) on drums and Kofi Burbridge (Derek Trucks Band) on flute. The resulting concoctions presented by the Odd Meters are pleasing, well-produced, and sonically challenging. The tracks on this album seem to have distinct personalities, but all are signified by strong guitar work from Morrow, pleasing percussion from Parecco, and excellent contributions from their guest musicians. As a reviewer, with personal tastes, likes, and dislikes, I found the tracks that featured Burbidge to be especially likable, but this stems from my love of the flute. Burbidge’s flute playing adds an elegant dimension to three of the tracks, and I found those to be three of my favorites. The album is lengthy and substantial, with eleven tracks clocking in at over 47 minutes total. The album is totally instrumental, with unique tracks and flavors boiling over in each of the recordings. Parreco produced, recorded, and mixed the tracks on this album, and is to be commended for solid work on both the technical and artistic sides of the album.

“Uncommon Denomintor” begins with “Fortie,” a stripped-down track spiced with modern jazz tinges and Burbidge’s silky flute. Exploratory guitar mingles with Burbidge’s flute against a backdrop of sparse, precise drumming to create a yearning introduction for the album. “A Half Step” lingers in loose waters, as measured guitar meshes with Parreco’s drumming and skilled vibraphone to create an airy, sophisticated track. Parreco’s vibraphone creates a wistful tone that is noteworthy and satisfying. “5 Fingers 3 Feet” picks up the pace, featuring excellent rhythm work and guitar. This track, like several others on the album, proves that the Odd Meters can “do more with less.” “Double Positive” features Burbidge’s syncopated flute and Mike Seal on guitar. “Ragamatra” spotlights Parreco and Morrow playing in a meditative, thoughtful manner, as Morrow’s guitar is accentuated by Parreco’s calculated, tight drumming.

“Azteca” features jam luminary, Jeff Sipe, on drums and timbales, while Burbidge contributes flute to this track. There is a sophisticated quality to this track as flute, guitar, and percussion all interact freely in ramping up to an energetic conclusion. “5 is the new 4” is accentuated by Stephen K. Wilson’s trombone, which ambles over a loose backdrop of bass, guitar, and drums. “Gummy Worm” displays nice interaction between guitar, drums, and trombone, ratcheting up to a fun, energetic groove that is sure to please. Jeff Sipe contributes his talents on drums to “Coble Vensualez,” with Parreco offering more of his skilled vibraphone work. The resulting concoction is a syncopated, pleasing track that equally spotlights Sipe, Morrow and Parreco’s work. The album closes with “Busted Trampoline,” which begins methodically before yielding to Morrow’s expressive guitar.

The tracks on “Uncommon Denominator” prove the Odd Meters to be skilled musicians with a love for breaking down boundaries. The album is well-versed in jazz and world beat idioms, while maintaining some reverence for both jam and rock-n-roll. The contributions of the guest musicians augment the stable, pleasing foundation offered by Morrow and Parreco. The musicians are to be commended for creating a sonically challenging album, and for incorporating seasoned, veteran musicians into the fold for this recording. Several of these tracks sparkle and I particularly liked “Fortie” and “Gummy Worm,” while enjoying others as well. Bands that can successfully navigate the production of an “instrumental” album, without sounding like some compilation of convoluted elevator jazz have to be applauded. The Odd Meters do that well on this album, as the tracks are likable, airy, and in even some instances, fun, which can hardly be said of many such instrumental acts.

(Writer’s Note – Biographical detail found at www.oddmeters.com)

- by J. Evan Wade
- www.homegrownmusic.net


"Uncommon Denominator" - LP April 2009
"EP"- Feb 2009
"Live- At the Porter Center" EP - Dec 2007



The song "5 Fingers 3 Feet" has been voted #19 for best of 2009 on the 'jazz and beyond' show with Roland Dierhauf on WNCW 88.7 in Spindale NC. (December 2009)

'Uncommon Denominator' has been nominated for HGMN studio album of the year! Please visit http://www.homegrownmusic.net/ for more info and to vote for the Odd Meters! (November 2009)

The 'Odd Meters' are proud to announce their membership and admission into Leeway's Home Grown Music Network. (August 2009)

The band has been steadily performing throughout the Southeast for the past 2 years and have recently released (May 2009) their debut studio album - "Uncommon Denominator." Special guests on the record include: Jeff Sipe (Keller Williams, Trey Anastasio, Phil Lesh, Aquarium Rescue Unit), Kofi Burbridge (Derek Trucks Band) and Mike Seal (Jeff Coffin Mu'tet). Each guest helps showcase the bands' dynamic ability to create an atmosphere that even the most seasoned veterans enjoy playing over.

Reviews of the disc are now available to view here - just click the link above entitled "Press."

The band will be continually touring this year in support of their debut studio release and admission into Leeway's HGMN.

The "Odd Meters" are a unique, instrumental duo whose music blends various genres into compelling modern compositions. Their high-energy performances can include styles such as Funk, Jazz, Afro-Cuban, Pop, Reggae, and Indian. The mixture they create takes their audiences of young and old on a musical journey around the world.

Breaking the boundaries of a traditional duo act, the "Odd Meters" present a full sound complete with bass, guitar, and drums thanks to the 8-string hybrid bass/guitar played by Jon Morrow. With all the components of a rhythm section, this duo can add featured soloists, or special sit-in performances from a wide variety of musicians.

Jon Morrow and Shane Parreco met in 2003 at Brevard College in Western North Carolina. Both were attending college to study music with an emphasis in jazz performance. Although they were focused on different instruments, they studied with a few of the same teachers. Dr. Laura Franklin (percussion) and Jeff Sipe (drums/rhythm concepts) taught both Morrow and Parreco about the inner workings of rhythm and time. They each gained a unique understanding of music and quickly became great friends because of their mutual enthusiasm for rhythm in various styles of music. Morrow and Parreco share a similar musical vocabulary, a desire to always be inspired and challenged, and a passion for making and sharing live music.

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