280

Greg Osby: Symbols of Light (A Solution)

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Strings and woodwinds make an alluring jazz combination. On his most recent exploration into the possibilities of improvised music, adventurous alto and soprano saxophonist Greg Osby enlists a string quartet to complement the conventional jazz rhythm section.

Osby has as an essential goal the organic integration of strings into the program. And the pieces that exude the most distinct sound are the ones where the strings play a primary role in melodic development. “Repay In Kind” is the strongest example on the set: here the strings exclusively control the melody—they state the opening theme and closing reprise. On “The Keep”, they act as a second lead instrument and participate with Osby’s horn to express the rhythmically bright melody. At other points the strings revert to a subordinate role, adding harmonized support.

Whether the strings contribute directly to thematic development or merely provide atmosphere, Osby’s acerbic voice remains the focus of the music. On his solo on “The Keep” he weaves sinuous notes into extended phrases that reflect a smooth development of ideas. It is a pleasure to the listener to experience Osby’s continuous stream of extemporization. He chooses shorter, angular phrases on “This is Bliss” pushing his alto to emit on the one hand low buzzes, on the other, high shrieks.

Despite the addition of an array of new instrumentation, the format of the program remains remarkably consistent: the ensemble establishes a melodic structure then Osby rips into improvisation with strings and rhythm section backing. On no selection does Osby allow the strings an opportunity to solo. Given that improvisation is a defining element of jazz music, this experiment does not realize the full potential that pairing a Western European classical tradition with jazz can afford.


Track Listing: 3 For Civility; Repay In Kind;

Personnel: Greg Osby

Title: Symbols Of Light (A Solution) | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Blue Note Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Kurrent CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Duets CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Rev CD/LP/Track Review Rev
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1 CD/LP/Track Review The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1
by Jim Olin
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Any Other Way CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "Desire & Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by John Sharpe
Published: January 25, 2017
Read "Thick As Thieves" CD/LP/Track Review Thick As Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read "Meeting My Shadow" CD/LP/Track Review Meeting My Shadow
by James Nadal
Published: July 22, 2017
Read "Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand" CD/LP/Track Review Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 23, 2017
Read "Bright Moments" CD/LP/Track Review Bright Moments
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: April 19, 2017
Read "Triplicate" CD/LP/Track Review Triplicate
by Doug Collette
Published: July 24, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.