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Mike Osborne

In the history of British jazz, there were few voices as unmistakable as Mike Osborne's alto saxophone, but his story is one of the tragedies of British jazz. Within 15 years of his first recordings, simmering mental illness had taken over and forced him away from his musical compatriots in vibrant London and brought him back to his native Hereford (near the Welsh border), where he lived under care until his death in 2007, his saxophone silent for decades. But during his career, Osborne was one of British jazz's most versatile players, working with members of the various spheres creating a new indigenous British jazz: the Spontaneous Music Ensemble circle; the crowd around the South African Blue Notes; members of the Canterbury Scene; and the modernists centered on John Surman.

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Mike Cooper: Oh Really!? / Do I Know You? / Trout Steel / Places I know / The Machine Gun Co. With Mike Cooper

Read "Oh Really!? / Do I Know You? / Trout Steel / Places I know / The Machine Gun Co. With Mike Cooper" reviewed by Jakob Baekgaard

“Riverboat captain, they called my name / Time to sing my song / I didn't know that the song was wrong / Don't sing that way again." These lyrics from the song “Trout Steel" are penned by guitarist, singer and songwriter, Mike Cooper, and they point directly to the iconoclastic nature of his ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Josephine Davies' Satori: In The Corners Of Clouds

Read "In The Corners Of Clouds" reviewed by Roger Farbey

It's interesting to compare In The Corners Of Clouds with Josephine Davies' previous album simply entitled Satori (Whirlwind, 2017). That live album was recorded at a gig in London in 2016, whereas In The Corners Of Clouds was recorded at Buffalo Studios, London in February 2018. The line-up has changed slightly too with Paul Clarvis replaced ...

Wodgi

Read "Wodgi" reviewed by Duncan Heining

Trumpeter Dave Holdsworth has graced a number of key jazz recordings over the years, notably with Mike Westbrook, Barry Guy and Tony Oxley. At the same time, he recorded rather less than many of his peers from that important period in British jazz in the late '60s/early '70s. Instead of the vagaries of a career in ...

In Memory of Lou Gare

Read "In Memory of Lou Gare" reviewed by Duncan Heining

Best known for his work with the experimental, avant-garde collective AMM Music, Lou Gare began his career in jazz in the early 1960s, playing in one of Mike Westbrook's early groups. In more recent times, in Devon, he reconnected with Westbrook and became a stalwart member of Westbrook's orchestra and an inspiration to its younger musicians. ...

The Last Night At The Old Place

Read "The Last Night At The Old Place" reviewed by Duncan Heining

By any standards the release of The Last Night At The Old Place will prove to be one of archive releases of the year, second only, perhaps, to the 'Lost' Coltrane album. All power, therefore, to Mike Gavin who has inherited the Cadillac catalogue from the late John Jack with his first release of archive material. ...

ARTICLE: THE BIG QUESTION

Presenting Problem

Read "Presenting Problem" reviewed by Duncan Heining

Jazz often appears to exist within its own cultural and artistic paradigm, isolated from other arts and in its own discreet musical corner. Worse still from the perspective of those who would hope to make a living from it, it often seems that more people want to play the music than listen to it or, more ...

ARTICLE: PROFILE

Mike Osborne: Force Of Nature - Part 2-2

Read "Mike Osborne: Force Of Nature - Part 2-2" reviewed 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 ...

ARTICLE: PROFILE

Mike Osborne: Force Of Nature - Part 1-2

Read "Mike Osborne: Force Of Nature - Part 1-2" reviewed 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 ...

ARTICLE: PROFILE

The Blue Notes and the Brotherhood of Breath - Marching to a Different Drum

Read "The Blue Notes and the Brotherhood of Breath - Marching to a Different Drum" reviewed by Duncan Heining

Early one August morning in 1964, seven people crossed the border by train passing from South Africa into Mozambique. It was an unusual group of people--five black men, one white man and one white woman. Any “mixing of the races" was, of course, immediately suspicious in apartheid South Africa. The six men--Louis Moholo, Chris McGregor, Dudu ...


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