547

Greg Osby: 9 Levels

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
Greg Osby: 9 Levels 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 music are intact but the recording speaks of a freshness that is free from the constraints of normal conventions and is articulated by a new band of rising artists who are poised to leave their own marks.

Osby has many times surrounded himself and nurtured emerging talent (pianist Jason Moran, drummer Rodney Green, singer Joan Osborne, to name a few) and this new group of bright leaders is no exception.

Joseph Lepore (bass) and Hamir Atwal (drums) create the robust rhythm section that admirably handles the labyrinthine changes and deep grooves in "Principle" or the swing bop backbone in "Truth." Dual-chorded ensembles can be tricky at times but here, Adam Birnbaum (piano) and Nir Felder (guitar) deliver the goods with great aplomb by comping, soloing, and filling in the creative gaps with total ease.

The sextet's sixth element is found in the unique vocals of singer Sara Serpa from Lisboa, Portugal. Her voice a finely tuned instrument, serious scattin' on "Truth," choral phrases on "Humility" or wordless touches like a painter's brushstrokes on canvass on the lovely abstract piece "Tolerance."

Continued surprises are found in two non-Osby pieces, "Less Tension Please" and "Two of One." The former has a mix of European classic-like overtones and where each band member contributes beautifully; the later with rustic sounds of Felder's slide guitar and Serpa's soothing lyrics.

The complexity of Osby is found in his music—searching, trying new things, and fighting conformity. Even within individual compositions there is constant flux as heard in the stunning works "Innocence" and "Optimism"(which also contains a nice hidden track). Similar to any art-form, some will or will not appreciate or comprehend it. But for Osby fans and those seeking more than just the usual, 9 Levels is a welcome return of a conceptualist who is in constant pursuit of new ideas.


Track Listing: Principle; Tolerance; Humility; Truth; Less Tension Please; Resilience; Two Of One; Innocence; Optimism.

Personnel: Greg Osby: alto and soprano saxophones; Sara Serpa: voice; Adam Birnbaum: piano; Nir Felder: guitar; Joseph Lepore: bass; Hamir Atwal: drums.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Inner Circle Music | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Recondita Armonia" CD/LP/Track Review Recondita Armonia
by Phillip Woolever
Published: March 12, 2016
Read "Horizon Ahead" CD/LP/Track Review Horizon Ahead
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 17, 2016
Read "You'll Never Know" CD/LP/Track Review You'll Never Know
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 31, 2017
Read "Brooklyn Blowhards" CD/LP/Track Review Brooklyn Blowhards
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 31, 2016
Read "So Far So Close" CD/LP/Track Review So Far So Close
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 22, 2016
Read "Komorebi" CD/LP/Track Review Komorebi
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 17, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!