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Greg Osby: Banned in New York

Glenn Astarita By

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“Banned in New York” is Greg Osby’s 4th Blue Note release and was recorded live at an undisclosed venue in New York City. A surprisingly good recording considering the lone piece of equipment was a “mini-disk recorder” placed on a table in front of the band. Nevertheless, Osby and his exceptional band flaunt their range of musical gifts on this fast paced up-beat excursion.

Osby’s original composition “13th Floor” opens the set in glowing fashion. Pianist Jason Moran sets the pace with huge “McCoy Tyner-esque” block chords, a quick dexterous right hand and astute phrasing. Here, Moran clearly identifies himself as a shrewd band mate and crafty improviser. He possesses the skills that could easily project him into numerous session dates and share the limelight with others twice his age. A mid-tempo number, “13th Floor” also features some burning heat from Osby’s alto while the rhythm section of Atsushi Osada (b) and Rodney Green (d) handle the peaks and valleys. Osada and Green seem ready to explode here but opt to tease and insinuate while displaying consideration for Osby’s articulate yet sinewy phraseology.

The Quartet also performs admirable renditions of Sonny Rollins’ “Pent Up House”, Monk’s 52nd Street Theme and Duke Ellington’s sublime “I Didn’t Know About You”. Charlie Parker’s “Big Foot” is given classic be-bop treatment. On “Big Foot” Osby brandishes his superior chops while making it all sound so easy.

“Banned In New York” is being sold at a reduced price and is several notches above your proverbial home grown analog bootleg recording. A quality effort, which receives high, marks for representing Osby’s terrific band as a serious “live” act minus some of the normal fluff and cosmetics. Nice work guys! ...Recommended.


Title: Banned in New York | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Blue Note Records


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