The Odd Trio has created an impeccable offering keen to the jazz listener that likes music with a bite.
~R. Ledwell, WMHB ME
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The Odd Trio's second release is a delightful and stimulating musical collage with intelligently constructed improvisations that remain accessible. The immense talent of the individual musicians has imbued the disc with a clever originality that gives it a wide appeal. The dual themes running through The Odd Trio's genre-bending The Birth of the Minotaur are jam band-inspired spontaneity and intensely melodic and almost theatrical impressionism. Even though Greek mythology is the source of their inspiration the dozen pieces bear hints of cinematic scores, blues and rock in addition to Mediterranean folk music.
~Hrayr Attarian, All About Jazz
Minotaur. Perhaps this is the end result of three classically trained musician getting a bit tired of the more button down approach to the classical scene and instead taking a more collective approach to a jazz trio that simply thrives on its own organic pulse. A band that feeds on itself and not the music in the strictest sense. Best put..."Be the ball Noonan!" The creativity here is off the charts while still working in odd meter and bold improvisational tunes that are brimming with color and texture galore. The amazing aspect of why this trio seems to function in such a cohesive fashion is their mutual respect and let’s not forget training in the formal traditions that are simply the building blocks for what is an adventurous journey through the looking glass of modern jazz. In short...I dig it.
~Brent Black, Critical Jazz – Full review…click here
The first four cuts are structured together like a symphony (allegro, sang, dance, finale). “Raucous Bacchus” gets things going with a joyful Second-line beat. Smith shows off wide range, his guitar going from ambient to screaming and back again on “Persephone’s Pomegranate.” “Pasiphae’s Wild Ride” (Soundcloud below) is a brash surf rock excursion and “Birth Of The Minotaur” tosses in rock metal overtones, dancing Eastern European folk and even a little mathematical fusion to create a mini-symphony of its own. Beyond that informal suite, the band continues to experiment with styles, sometimes emphasizing song structure, other times sonic imagery. “Perseus” takes its cue from sound waves produced by a distant black hole of the same name, keying the song on Bb, and employing time signatures of 5/8, 7/8 and 8/8. A hypnotic repeating pattern of notes to go with the unusual metric pattern, which combined, makes a sensible melody. Smith makes use of effects to create an expansive sounding reverb-drenched atmosphere for “Deckard’s Dream.” “Sunday Morning Improvisation” and “Sleeping Ariadne” are further explorations into extended forms and dreamy musical terrain. For another change of pace, the wild and woolly “Whisky” veers from funk to metal with middle eastern overtones. The offbeat, unconventional and unpredictable methods of The Odd Trio make Birth Of The Minotaur‘s oddities endearing.
~Victor Aaron, Something Else Reviews
Reversing the usual trajectory of jazz into classical, these classicalbos move into mash up jazz, doing so from one of the strong holds of indie rock, Athens, GA. Pomo jazz for any kid that grew up on rap/rock and is ready to move onto more adult musical pursuits, there’s jazz, there’s mythology, chops to spare and a good time for all. This music is challenging without being work to listen to and well worth your dalliance.
~Chris Spector, Midwest Record Volume 35/Number 266
The Athens, Georgia group is a modern jazz trio in the loosest sense. The music is eclectic but not unapproachable. It starts with a New Orleans funk groove, “Raucous Bacchus,” which sounds a bit like Galactic meets Charlie Hunter, then goes psychedelic, with a Bitches Brew-style electric wash of avant-garde noodling. The band is talented enough to live without bass. Smith uses multiple effects on his guitar to fill out the sound, as on the ethereal “Deckard’s Dream,” and the out-there rock of “Whiskey.”
~Kyle O’Brien, Jazzscene
The twelve tracks on the album are all written by the band and, boy, are they a showcase for the musical chops being pounded here. Imagine a band with Jeff Beck, Charlie Parker and Ginger Baker - that would be one hell of a trio, well these are the bastard [in a positive way] offspring of that union. You really don't know what to expect when playing this album - there is a lot of fire and brimstone coming out of the speakers, but at the same time you could also get down with some of the grooves being created.
~John M. Peters, The Borderland – full review…click here
In all of our years covering music we can't recall having ever received any jazz from Athens, Georgia. The appropriately titled Odd Trio is just that...three guys with an odd sound and approach to music. To be more accurate, these guys aren't just playing jazz...they play a fusion of styles that incorporates ideas from jazz, rock, and progressive...all combined into a heady mix that is surprisingly accessible and fluid. The playing here is impeccable...and sure to impress even the most discriminating listeners. The tunes on Birth of the Minotaur run the gamut from smooth and safe...to wildly improvisational. Twelve groove-oriented cuts including "Raucous Bacchus," "Deckard's Dream," and "Whiskey." Peculiar and intriguing.
~Don Seven, LMNOP Magazine
Perhaps more is what you will get upon hearing The Odd Trio (Todd Mueller on drums, Marc Gilley on saxophones, and Brian Smith on guitar), but here they start the album in a festive way by taking it to New Orleans and parading the streets with a groove. Then they get into some mighty fine smoothness and just bob and weave through different styles and arrangements of the album, displaying their capabilities and why they work together so well. I loved “Sunday Morning Improvisation’ and “Persephone’s Pomegranate” for different reasons, but damn, it was an album I ended up playing a few times over just to be able to keep experiencing what I was taking in upon listening to it. Guitar, saxophone, and drums: a perfect combination and before you say “wait, how about the bass?” Just listen. Then out of the unexpected, you want to bust out your board, head into the ocean and go into the tube, as “Pasiphae’s Wild Ride” is some straight up surf rock, complete with the kind of European folk traditions that people like Dick Dale brought into his music. Within three songs, you’ll want to stay for the duration because you know you will not be in your listening chair at the end of the album. By the time it hits the title track, you’re dancing around in a manner that you thought was not within your comfort zone, but then you realize: a saxophone mixed up with heavy metal guitar? What is this? Is this the birth or the afterbirth? It’s awesome.
~John Book, This is Books Music
Despite their name, guitarist Brian Smith, saxophonist Marc Gilley, and drummer Todd Mueller are not really an odd trio. They perform material which is not necessarily straight and true, but mostly the Athens, GA threesome follows a recognizable jazz template with a modernistic determination: they know jazz traditions but add fresh twists to their 12 originals, and keep things lively but not so outside of the envelope that jazz fans will turn away. Quite the contrary, the trio’s 61-minute sophomore album, Birth of the Minotaur, offers enough melodic and harmonic progressions, fluctuating rhythmic time signatures and improvising to attract most liberal jazz listeners.
~Doug Simpson, Audiophile Audition – full review…click here
The Odd Trio is Marc Gilley (sax), Todd Mueller (d) and Brian Smith (g). They are classically trained musicians who met at the University of Georgia, became friends and formed their creative trio to explore improvisational music. They all contribute original compositions to a diverse set of tunes pulling their vast experiences together. The music is soft pop/rock fusion with tentacles that extend across several boundaries. Among the best are the syncopated "Information Fatigue", the funky "Ricio de Mare" with a wired guitar solo and the spicy opener "Raucous Bacchus".
~D. Oscar Groomes, O’s Place Jazz Magazine
The cut sheet say that fusion was created for bands like this – and that’s not far off th’ mark! The trio is made up of Brian Smith (guitars), Marc Gilley (saxophones) & drums by Todd Mueller, & as you listen to the Sharrock-like guitar burn on “Pasiphae’s Wild Ride“, you’ll “get it” immediately – wild, indeed! What’s truly neat (aside from the fact that they’re from th’ deep south – Athens, GA) is that their music is painted on a much broader palette than free-form…. scope out the blues-root/power drum combo on “Whiskey”, where you’ll get a true feel for what it feels to wake up in th’ mornin’ with a “head on”, ready to ride that HARLEY!
I enjoyed this CD and give it a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
~Rotcod Zzaj, Improvijazzation Nation
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