Saxophonist, composer, producer and educator Greg Osby has made an indelible mark on contemporary jazz as a composer, bandleader, educator and recording artist for the past 35 years. Notable for his insightful and unique approach to composition and performance of original jazz music, Osby is a shining beacon among the current generation of improvising musicians. He has earned numerous awards and critical acclaim for his recorded works and riveting live performances.
Born and reared in St. Louis, Osby began his professional music career in 1975, after three years of private studies on clarinet, flute and alto saxophone. Coming from a vibrant and musical city, Osby showed an early interest in the performing arts and spent his years in secondary school with a heavy involvement in Blues, R&B and dance bands. In 1978 Osby furthered and extended his musical education at Howard University, where he majored in Jazz Studies. He continued his studies at the Berklee College of Music from 1980 to 1982.
Upon relocating to New York in 1982, Osby quickly established himself as a popular and frequently requested sideman for artists as varied as Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Jack DeJohnette, Andrew Hill, Muhal Richard Abrams, Jim Hall and Jaki Byard as well as with many ethnic and new music ensembles in the New York area.
In 1985 Osby was invited to tour with Jack DeJohnette's innovative group, Special Edition. It was as a member of this ensemble Osby was able to fine tune the more challenging aspects of his conception in an open ended, no holds barred musical situation. Says Osby, My musical thinking for performance and composition advanced by light years as Jack was open to my input and was very encouraging in pushing me to to maintain a steady flow of experimentation. It marked a major turning point in my development as an artist. In 1987, Osby signed his first recording deal with the German label , JMT (Jazz Music Today). With this situation, he felt that he was able to accurately document his music exactly as it was concieved. He had free creative reign to do whatever he liked and recorded four CD titles for that label. In 1989 Osby signed with Blue Note Records and recorded fourteen recordings for that label as a leader. In 2007, Osby formed his own recording label, Inner Circle Music, which has become home to some of the most provocative artists on the contemporary music scene.