Greg Osby: Public (2004)
"Summertime" is only briefly recognizable, with Osby's rich alto snatching at the melody before handing it off to Payton. The trumpeter is seductive, alternating quick runs with dirty, drawn-out notes that integrate beautifully with the rhythm section. When Osby returns, his sinuous lines methodically draw the listener into the familiar tune. This is why we need the jazz musician: he hears the music in a way we weren't able to before. Osby's original "Visitation" starts with an extravagant opening statement by Yonezawa that gradually gives way to Osby's establishment of the melody and rapturous rendering of the composition as it plays out. The bebop classics "Bernie's Tune" and "Shaw Nuff" offer nimble individual runs by Osby and Payton, while together they interweave and bounce off each other like beads on granite.
To close the album, the Osby quintet teams with singer Joan Osborne in a version of "Lover Man." Osborne's vocal yearns and is utterly guileless, and Osby's support is sensitive and stirring. She's been around for fifteen years, but Osby just might have found the new Norah.
This review originally appeared in AllAboutJazz-New York .
Record Label: Blue Note Records