By dedicating pieces to specific jazz masters, Greg Osby honors the tradition without repeating it. High on individuality since he joined Blue Note in 1990, the saxophonist has daredon past albumsto introduce jazz to funk, hip-hop, street poetry and more. His creative freshness is what drives him. It's that uniqueness of spirit that moves each of Osby's projects up a notch. This time out, it's a string quartet.
By writing sensual counterpoint for the string quartet and having his piano trio match their mood stride for stride, Osby is free to turn his saxophone loose. His improvisation winds around the script, jabbing the air with that recognizably gritty tone. The session centers on beauty: expressed through sonorous timbre combinations, harmonic impressions, and written work. "Wild is the Wind" is the classic Johnny Mathis hit. Osby performs it in the lower register, purring as a balladeer. "Golden Sunset" was written by Andrew Hill. Osby and pianist Jason Moran perform it as a duet, with powerful majesty. Several of the tunes swing, while much of the session offers dramatic impressionism. Greg Osby continues to carve his way into an ever-changing jazz scene that wants to grow but doesn't yet know which roads to follow.
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total)
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total). He saw an alto sax on my neck and said: Hey, how about you there, would you like to play something for us? I played a piece with the piano. OK, said Lee, how about you play something unaccompanied? Oh yeah! I was deep into transcribing Sonny Stitt and pretty much into playing as fast as possible as many right notes as possible. So I played Oleo in about 300 beats per minute and was very proud of myself. Lee was tapping his foot all the way through. Hmm, he said, that was in time and all that... (I thought - yeah, of course, haha!) and then he said, You've got a lot of quantity, how about quality? It took me 15 years to realize what he meant.