by Barry Witherden
Part 1 | Part 2 The passion and conviction of Osborne's playing was so intense that it almost always came across undiminished on recordings, whether they originated in a pub, club or concert-hall gig, or in a studio as part of a formal session. Some of his most exciting work was captured in front of an audience at the BBC's Maida Vale premises, a converted swimming-pool in West London, but it is pretty certain that the Corporation wiped ...read more
by Barry Witherden
Part 1 | Part 2 Some three-and-a-half minutes into Release, the Deram recording of Mike Westbrook's seminal suite mixing Swing classics with Westbrook originals, after a scorching solo by John Surman on The Few," an alto saxophone cadenza emerged from a free ensemble passage: the tone was penetrating, incisive, severe, the phrasing intense, passionate and ascetic, adding up to a remarkable, unsentimental romanticism. The alto player's following reading of the theme of Lover Man" evoked the most affecting ...read more
by Bruce Lindsay
Alto saxophonist Mike Osborne's career was relatively short--barely 20 years between his first gigs with the pioneering Mike Westbrook Band and his retirement from the music scene because of mental health problems in 1982. His discography is lengthy, but albums as leader are rare. Dawn draws together recordings from three relatively early sessions in Osborne's career--early, but testament to the maturity of his playing and writing. It's exciting stuff. Osborne recorded the first six tunes in London, during ...read more
by Martin Longley
Late English alto saxophonist Mike Osborne, whose work represented the pinnacle of British avant jazz, sadly retired back in 1982 as a result of mental health problems. The discovery of previously unheard material is therefore particularly exciting, especially when its standard is high enough to preserve the reedman's best playing form. This disc features live recordings of two different quartet lineups, both of them having Osborne teamed with trumpeter Dave Holdsworth. The opener, Ducking & Diving," sprawls ...read more
by Nic Jones
The mercurial nature of alto saxophonist Mike Osborne's musical personality was arguably a difficult thing to capture on record, but here it's caught in all its glory despite the slightly muddy fidelity. Any degree to which he might have been in thrall to both Jackie McLean and Ornette Coleman was no longer an issue by the time these performances were captured back in 1980 and 1981, and the music has wings and a method of flight entirely its own.
Ducking ...read more
by Sid Smith
First issued in 1976 and now making its CD debut with a sumptuous 26 extra minutes, what hits you from the opening moments of this live album is the full-blooded passion and commitment to every single note.
That isn't too much of a surprise, given that Mike Osborne was undoubtedly one of the most formidable sax players to emerge from the fertile grounds of British jazz in the late 1950s and 1960s.
A glance at many of the key groupings ...read more