The Greg Osby 4 at Bimhuis, Amsterdam, Holland 4-17-04

Mark Sabbatini By

Sign in to view read count
Greg Osby
The Greg Osby 4 at Bimhuis, Amsterdam, Holland 4-17-04

Greg Osby's desire to release several albums a year in the old Blue Note tradition is finding life in the most modern way possible.

The alto saxophonist is offering free downloads of more than a dozen full-length live performances from the past several years at his internet site, www.gregosby.com . They feature top-notch sound and some of today's best players in ensembles of varying sizes and styles. The two-hour April 17 quartet performance, the most recent available, covers standards and originals representing a recording career that has ranged from ragtime to hip-hop.

Osby spends much of the evening giving modernist twists to traditional styles, and from start to finish the quartet engages in a coherent exploration of this phasing common to today's better contemporary mainstream performers. Pianist Megumi Yonezawa provides intense melodic support, drummer Damion Reid excels on contemporary groves that avoid stepping on his colleagues' lines, and bassist Matt Brewer offers a post-bop-legend-on-Jolt-cola introspective.

Osby gets things off to a thoughtful but pleasing and accessible start on "Visitation," the only song from the live Public album released earlier this year. His constant shift of phrases and tempos continues as the dominant presence on the slower-paced "Minstrale/Ashes," proving he has moved well beyond the need for repetition and upper-octave tricks to snare an audience.

Osby's funky side emerges in "Alligator Boogaloo," although in this setting he wisely avoids going too near the hip-hop from earlier days. Instead, the entire quartet takes a long look at a simplistic Hancock-like tune and shakes a complex set of modernist statements out of it. The group retains the lively feel while stepping back in time on "East St. Louis Toodle," with Yonezawa in particular excelling at preserving the whimsical mood while giving it a thoroughly progressive wrapper.

Listeners are challenged anew with an extended session of free blowing on the 28-minute "Nature Boy/Six Of One/In A Sentimental Mood," which ranges somewhere between Coltrane and Coleman in discipline and complexity. It is easily one of the most impressive and interactive stretches. The audience gets sent home in proper fashion as Osby starts with post bop and returns to right-here/right-now on the closing compilation of "The Song Is You/Nekide/Big Foot."

All songs are in unprotected MP3 format without any registration requirements or other restrictions, with the eight songs totaling 137.5MB in size. The sound quality is first-rate, since it's a band recording instead of an audience tape.

This concert and the others at Osby's site could easily be sold as a boxed set with a three-figure price tag, and rank at the very top of online music offerings by any established jazz performer in generosity and quality. Appreciative listeners would do well to purchase an album or show ticket, or at least send a note of thanks, letting him and other artists know such offerings can benefit all involved.

Personnel: Greg Osby, alto sax; Megumi Yonezawa, piano; Matt Brewer, bass; Damion Reid, drums.

Tracks: 1) Visitation; 2) Minstrale/Ashes; 3) Alligator Boogaloo; 4) East St. Louis Toodle; 5) The Jitterbug Waltz; 6) Nature Boy/Six Of One/In A Sentimental Mood; 7) The Song Is You/Nekide; 8) Nekide (cont.)/Big Foot.


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Monterey Jazz Festival 2008 Music Sampler Download Reviews The Monterey Jazz Festival 2008 Music Sampler
by Tod Smith
Published: December 27, 2008
Read Oscar Peterson Tribute: Simply The Best Download Reviews Oscar Peterson Tribute: Simply The Best
by Mark Sabbatini
Published: January 17, 2008
Read John Ellis Quartet: Live At Yoshi's - July 18, 2005 Download Reviews John Ellis Quartet: Live At Yoshi's - July 18, 2005
by Mark Sabbatini
Published: June 15, 2006
Read Free "Professor of Sax" Collection Merits a Gold Star Download Reviews Free "Professor of Sax" Collection Merits a Gold...
by Mark Sabbatini
Published: May 10, 2006
Read Guitarist Tim Conley's funky standards and improvisations make for stand-out shows Download Reviews Guitarist Tim Conley's funky standards and...
by Mark Sabbatini
Published: November 11, 2005
Read "The Realpolitik of Georg Frederic Handel" Bailey's Bundles The Realpolitik of Georg Frederic Handel
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 16, 2017
Read "Glamour or Gloom? Fitzgerald's Jazz Age" Philosophisticated Lady Glamour or Gloom? Fitzgerald's Jazz Age
by Marithe Van der Aa
Published: November 25, 2016
Read "Blue Side of Lonesome: Country Crooners on BGO" Multiple Reviews Blue Side of Lonesome: Country Crooners on BGO
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 23, 2016
Read "George Benson at Denver Botanic Gardens" Live Reviews George Benson at Denver Botanic Gardens
by Geoff Anderson
Published: September 21, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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