The freedom that saxophonist Greg Osby exhibits on Channel Three allows him to create openly without clutter. The harmony comes through overlapping tones, as saxophone and bass converse and drummer Jeff Watts echoes with various textures. You can even feel the pitches coming from his drum set.
Working without a pianist, the trio opens up. Sustained notes between phrases have to be supplied as a part of their action. There's no room to lay back. Each of the three artists pushes full force from start to finish. Both minimalist and moody, the trio's performance delivers a positive glow that reflects the modern in modern jazz.
The first piece, "Mob Job," is by Ornette Coleman, and the last, "Miss Ann," is by Eric Dolphy. In between, Osby's originals take the trio on a journey through inner space. "Viewer Discretion" is powerful and muscular; "Fine Tuning" is light and gay; "Channel Three" is soothing and comfortable.
Osby's approach varies from one piece to the next in order to belie specific impressions. However, his unpredictable sprit carries the trio to majestic heights through its remarkable driving force. Mallets fly, bass walks with a spot-on discernment, and saxophone roams the landscape with a chip on his shoulder. Osby turns in one of the best performances of his career. His lack of restraint combines with the trio's cohesive interplay for a superb outing.
"Please Stand By," a personal favorite, places the three artists in a rhythmic groove that's bolstered by virtuosic alto saxophone epithets. Osby and his musical partners capture the spirit of jazz's modern mainstream with their complex rhythmic undercurrents and outwardly pleasant melodic conceptions.