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Odd Meter Jazz

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by PIZZAcato, Feb 15, 2006.

  1. A while ago i found the renowned Dave Brubeck album "Time Out" and ever since have had a love for all music in various odd(non-western) meters, favorite is 13-5. Anyway, I haven't ran into many more odd metered jazz recordings and was wondering if anyone knew of some I could get my hands on... thx.
  2. Tired_Thumb

    Tired_Thumb Guest

    Don Ellis

    The only thing we've ever played in 4/4 time is Take 5!
  3. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001

    Anyhow, Brad Mehldau, Chris Potter, Kurt Rosenwinkel and Ben Monder would be a few names that would get you in that arena.
  4. Thanks guys... and yes 13/5... originally a piano piece.
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Just about every Dave Holland album is full of odd metre pieces - his current quintet play them so naturally though, most people don't notice! ;)

    "Prime Directive" is my favourite...:)
  6. Chrix


    Apr 9, 2004
    Amusingly enough, the tune 'Prime Directive' is in 4/4.

    But yes, Dave Holland seems to be the tops as far as odd meters go right now. And Chris Potter and Robin Eubanks make the oddest of meters sound like cake.

    Mehldau usually does the obligatory standard in 5/4 pr 7/4 on most of his records, but also makes them sound great.

    Just keep looking. This stuff is a lot of fun. But just don't forget how to swing ;).
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well - of course, I meant the album - not the particular track/tune!
  8. That's not a time signature....it's a hat size.

    Thank you. I'll be here all week. Try the veal.
  9. Reuben


    Aug 8, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    I'm working on some music right now for a gig with composer/pianist Denman Maroney, and it is the hardest stuff I've ever had to deal with, rhythmically. There are some odd meter parts, but most of the stuff is in fairly conventional meter...but, you have to play all kinds of baaad pulses over those meters, like 4 over 7, and 4 over 5. Sometimes the results sound like the group is switching tempos around, but it's an illusion. It's especially crazy when we're all playing what sounds like different contrasting tempos or times. Really hard. I'm loving it, though. I'm just glad we have five rehearsals before the gig...
  10. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    I'll bet you dollars to dimes that they're not counting fifth-notes.
    In addition to the fine suggestions above, don't overlook the seminal work of John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra, particularly Birds of Fire. Is it jazz? You tell me!

    Another really well-written and rather unknown record from the same era is Billy Cobham's 1974 record Crosswind, reissued as a CD on the Wounded Bird label. It has acoustic and electric tunes and the band sounds wicked tight on the mixed-meter stuff. Check this lineup:

    Michael Brecker, tenor & soprano
    Randy Brecker, trumpet, flugel & effects
    Garnett Brown, trombone
    John Abercrombie, guitar
    George Duke, keys
    John (B.) Williams, acoustic and electric basses
    Lee Pastora, hand-drums
    Cobham, drumset and composer

    Cobham's writing is superb.
  11. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    Check out the group "Kakalla" (http://www.kakalla.com/). Their bassist, Thomson Kneeland, is just amazing, and it's a great band with a lot of Bulgarian/Greek influenced odd-meter stuff.

    Also, Scott Colley's album "The Magic Line" has some cool odd-meters with Bill Stewart playing them as if they weren't odd at all...
  12. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Marc Mommaas had a piece that had a buncha a metric modulation stuff going on in certain sections (head and blowing) where the melody line was in one feel, the piano was playing another against that and the bass line was in yet a third. Pretty ****ing hard, but it sounded great.

    NEMESIS (one of the Eubanks brothers) is a nice tune in 11/8, kinda fun to play. there's a piece on a Robin eubanks record that metrically modulates to a different time/feel for only about 2 bars as part of the blowing form, it's BAD. Aaron Goldberg has a nice tune in 5 called SHED, but I'm not sure if it's been recorded yet. there's a nice arrangement of POLKA DOTS AND MOONEBEAMS on Cassandra Wilson's BLUE SKIES that has the A sections 3 bars of 3/4 and a bar of 5/4, with the bridge as a straight waltz except for the last bar (5/4 again).
  13. I'll second the Dave Holland thing, that band is just full of beasts. Chris Potter's own band does a lot of odd meters. Some of Joshua Redman's c.d.s like Beyond has some pretty sweet odd meter stuff. There is a really really great young piano player Robert Glasper and he writes some really sweet odd meter tunes. Just some guys to add to the list.
  14. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I have to admit some embarrassment at missing Dave Holland.
  15. JohnBarr


    Mar 19, 2004
    Central NY
    I was thinking of mentioning Nemesis when I read through this thread. Glad to see it come up. Great tune.
    I have it on Dave Holland's Extensions (with Kevin Eubanks on Guitar) It's one smokin' CD in any case.

  16. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    I'm stunned... we share something.
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Dave Holland was asked about this in a Bass Player interview that is on the net - here's the relevant part :

    Q.A lot of your compositions are in odd meters. How did you develop an affinity for that approach?

    It first started in my early days in England. I was friends with John McLaughlin, and we did some playing together, working on the kind of odd-metric stuff that he would later explore with the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Max Roach was another influence; he did a lot of work in different time signatures. In fact, I think he was one of the first artists to use 5/4 and even 3/4 in a jazz context. In general, there’s been a progression in music since then in terms of opening up time signatures.

    I didn’t really approach composition seriously until the late ’60s and early ’70s. Early on, I was interested in odd meters; the tune “Conference of the Birds” [see page 50] is in five, for example. Plus, the music I listen to, like Bartók, incorporates different metric ideas.

    When I first started the quintet in '82, my first working band as a leader, we started to work on some music. Steve Coleman became an influence. He had been playing outside the band with [jazz drummer] Doug Hammond. Doug had written some music that was dealing with different phrasing—situations where the harmonic rhythm worked contrary to the rhythmic structure. I think Doug inspired Steve, and Steve inspired me with his compositions. The odd meters started to become a thing we were developing. Plus “Smitty” Smith and Robin Eubanks, who are both fluent in that stuff, came into the group. I was definitely aided and inspired by that period. To me that’s how music develops. We look at single individuals sometimes, but most innovators will tell you their innovation comes from their creative context.

    Q.How did you become so fluid in odd meters?

    I'Il let you know when I do! [Laughs.] It’s an ongoing process. We come out of a culture that very rarely moves outside 4/4. But if we were Turkish or Greek or Arabic, odd meters would be part of our daily experience. So it’s something you have to work on and train yourself to do. I say to young musicians to get together with people and work on this stuff. It’s one thing to work at home in your room and try to develop your feels—how certain cycles evolve and how to superimpose rhythms—but in the end you have to get together with other musicians and write or find some music to which you can apply those concepts. That’s been the greatest benefit to me: to be around people like Steve and Robin, musicians who are intensely working on these things. You hear how they solved the problem. Robin will bring in a tune that challenges me, and that’ll give me something to work on, or I’ll write something that challenges myself. A lot of my composing comes out of that. It comes out of wanting to write a song that is both interesting to play and that will help me develop my ideas about playing. You see the same process with Coltrane: He wrote songs that were connected with the concepts that he was developing as a player. I see that as being a really important symbiotic relationship between the musician as a composer and the musician as a player. The two worlds feed each other. And it’s all about one foot in front of the other—learning about yourself, the music, and the possibilities that come out of what you’re working on.
  18. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    The embarrassment? The forgetting to mention Dave Holland? Ohio? The Bass? Skyline Chili and the fear of Vine St. Hill on an icy day?

  19. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I think that he thought ( like I thought) that you meant that you weren't particularly a fan of Dave's playing.
  20. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Nope -- I love Dave's playing. I am embarrased that I failed to list his name, he being being so active in that stuff and a great bass player to boot.