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Greg Osby: A Candid Conversation

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I have found that with forward-thinking artists, their music can be a direct reflection of who they are. That's largely my interest in these very creative individuals--in how they think and how they view the world through their own eyes. Greg Osby is fearless in expressing his convictions, and I think you'll find that his compositions reflect that very character. He is a creator and a fresh voice in a world that has a tendency to fall victim to the past.

Lloyd Peterson: Are you still doing things your own way?

Greg Osby: I have no other way, and creatively ...

INTERVIEWS

Greg Osby: New Mission, New Label, New Responsibility

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For over two decades Greg Osby has been at the forefront of modern jazz. As a composer and player he breaks new ground, challenging audiences and the establishment with his complex, propulsive, and ever-evolving music. Never one to mince words, Osby has built a reputation as a blunt spokesman willing to tell it like it is, whether discussing the state of art, his personal development, or the less appealing aspects of the music business. Now, launching a new label, Osby is even better positioned to formalize what he has been unofficially doing for many years, namely fostering the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Greg Osby: 9 Levels

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After ending a sixteen year tenure with Blue Note Records, leaving his signature as one of the most forward thinking, outspoken, and at times misunderstood artists in contemporary jazz, saxophonist/composer Greg Osby returns with 9 Levels, the first release on his new Inner Circle Music label. The music which is based upon Osby's perspective on the Zen like principles of “The 9 Levels of Humanity," personifies the artist: geometric time signatures, hip modernistic imprints, blues and bop touches and some new surprises, delivered with the usual high level of musicianship. The sharp movements of Osby's horn and ...

DISTRICT JAZZ

New Inventions: Greg Osby Debuts Latest Band at Kennedy Center Jazz

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Saturday, October 27, 2007Kennedy Center Jazz ClubWashington, DC Instrumentalist, composer, and band-leader Greg Osby has helped helm jazz's creative resurgence for nearly two decades. At the Kennedy Center last Saturday, he once again proved why he has long been one of modern jazz's most provocative figures. Presenting the official launch of his latest collection of new young voices in a brand new configuration, Osby not only redefined his sound, but the combination of novel arrangement, instrumental experimentation, and textural exploration may well have constituted his best work yet.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Andrew Cyrille with Greg Osby: Low Blue Flame

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"Every once in a while, the saxophonist and drummer just have to be alone. So said the venerable tenorist Benny Golson in concert a few years ago, a coy grin creeping over his face, before launching himself into the stratosphere against his drummer of the evening. “Against, because that's often the form the sax/drums duet takes--a no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners, raucously unrestrained and joyfully unapologetic, cacophonous battle to the finish line. On Low Blue Flame however, drummer Andrew Cyrille and saxophonist Greg Osby are after something else: melodic improvisation within a tight compositional framework, with intensity coming not from highflying pyrotechnics but ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Greg Osby Four at the Green Mill

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Greg Osby Four Green Mill, Chicago September 10, 2005Altoist Greg Osby's fronted a lot of terrific bands over the years, but the quartet he brought to Chicago's Green Mill for a two-night stand on September 9-10 can be listed among the best of them. On the Saturday gig of the residency, the Greg Osby Four--composed of Osby, pianist James Gordon Williams, bassist Matt Brewer and drummer Tommy Crane--combined daunting technique with a restless and fearless willingness to go pretty much anywhere. This improvisational openness was bolstered with an open-eared tightness that enabled the band to ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Greg Osby & Jason Moran: Channel Three & Same Mother

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Greg Osby Channel Three Blue Note 2005

It's hard to believe that among the sixteen albums he's recorded as a leader, Channel Three is alto saxophonist Greg Osby's first with simple drum and bass backing. The time must be right, because the music on this recording contains all the technical precision and musical interplay listeners have come to expect from Osby projects and his band meets every virtuosic demand they throw at each other. Eight of Osby's own compositions are bookended by Ornette's “Mob Job (the altoist finding the melody ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Greg Osby: Channel Three

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Greg Osby: Channel Three

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At some point in their careers, most saxophonists decide to tackle the trio format and do away with chordal instruments, or pick up another linear front line player to provide either the implicit or explicit harmonies inherent in larger groupings. Greg Osby has waited longer than most to tackle the challenging context, but with Channel Three, his 16th release as a leader, he creates a saxophone trio with a difference. That should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Osby's ongoing and intrepid pursuit of his own muse.

21-year-old bassist Matt Brewer, who makes his first recorded appearance with ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Greg Osby: Channel Three

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Channel Three, the first trio album in Greg Osby's now almost twenty-year recording career, is one of challenging, accessible, and incessantly swinging music. In many ways it sits in contrast to anything else in his catalog, but it nonetheless also sounds exactly like the alto saxophonist, due to Osby's indomitable spirit.

Such a unique sound is hard to come by as more and more musicians are finding ways to distribute their music--but Osby's bright tone and note-dense, yet sometimes very languid style, coupled with a unique improvisational and compositional approach, have set him apart for many years. Throughout ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Greg Osby: Channel Three

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Progressive jazz enthusiasts have to admire an artist who is willing to take chances. From early beginnings with the creative music outlet of the M-BASE collective and popular music which included early hip hop, to becoming one of today's most individualistic jazz artists, saxophonist Greg Osby has continued to create music that is grounded yet is always flourishing towards inventiveness. After having recorded in various jazz ensembles small and large, it's hard to believe that Channel Three is his first trio recording as a leader.

Joining Osby is friend and drumming master Jeff “Tain Watts, who has been a prolific ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Terri Lyne Carrington/Adam Rogers/Jimmy Haslip/Greg Osby: Structure

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Structure is both aptly named and a bit of a misnomer. The generally idiosyncratic writing, while clearly rooted in form, also manages to be liberated enough so as to give the recording a more exploratory vibe. Sure, pieces like guitarist Adam Rogers' “Columbus, Ohio," with its folksy complexion, are more about soloing over a clearly-defined structure, but for the most part the music--composed by everyone involved--is harmonically and rhythmically complex enough to make things more tenuous when everyone decides to head off into uncharted territory.

Still, it never dissolves into completely free exchange. Instead, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and bassist ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marc Copland and Greg Osby: Night Call

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The duet is a difficult beast; depending on the circumstances and the players involved, it can be a powerful display of improvisational ability or a lesser statement. With Night Call, a somewhat low-key but still fairly free-wheeling set of duets, pianist Marc Copland and alto saxophonist Greg Osby have created a rather personal document. Copland began his career working with Chico Hamilton in the 1970s and has since worked regularly with saxophonist Dave Liebman and Osby, among others.

The set list consists of three tunes by Osby, five by Copland and one by Mal Waldron ("Soul Eyes"). The pair only ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marc Copland with Greg Osby: Night Call

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A month doesn't go by without a new record from pianist Marc Copland; at least it feels that way. And that's not a bad thing. Copland, by operating within the independent label arena and with a variety of companies, has managed to buck the normal trend that says an artist can't put out more than one album every year or two.

And Copland is one of those rare musicians who, by teaming with an ever-widening group of collaborators, continues to reveal new depths with each release. From What It Says , his dark duet recording with bassist Gary ...



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