115

The Greg Osby Four

C. Andrew Hovan By

Sign in to view read count
A La Jazz Rendezvous 2001
The Cleveland Play House
Cleveland, Ohio

Since 1984, when he hooked up with Steve Coleman to form the M-BASE Collective, Greg Osby has been at the forefront of some of the more exploratory movements of the modern jazz era. He has released eleven albums as a leader for Blue Note to date, including collaborations with Joe Lovano and Andrew Hill. Currently, his latest endeavor for the label is due this summer and to support the album he’s now in the midst of a two-month tour with his quartet. Rounding out an exemplary cast of young artists, Osby fronts this group with fellow Blue Note leader Jason Moran on piano, Calvin Jones on bass, and Marvin Broween on drums.
The fourth and final performance of the A La Jazz Rendezvous concert series held at the Cleveland Play House, Osby’s quartet hit the stage of the Bolton Theatre for a Sunday afternoon performance before a very small, but appreciative audience. What became evident very early on was that Broween’s mesmerizing work was crucial to the overall development of each piece, confirming that old axiom that an ensemble is only as strong as its drummer. Osby knows how to tell a story with his horn and in addition to a very sweet tone, his mellifluous forays help make him a challenging player who is also able to connect with an audience. The same could really be said for Moran, a very versatile musician whose range takes in everything from funk to Cecil Taylor-like abstractions.
Osby and crew leaped into the first set without much fanfare, as each tune segued to the next. There were no announcements, save for Osby’s obligatory band introductions at the end of the set. Although his own originals were certainly memorable, Osby did an exceptional job of redefining a few standards. “Night and Day” made the most of Moran’s low register chords, creatively reharmonized, and a lively bossa tempo. A Blue Note gem from another era, Lou Donaldson’s “Alligator Boogaloo” found Osby preachin’ with gusto and Moran opening things up with a dense and tempestuous solo display.
The second set hit another fine balance between originals and standards. “Jitterbug Waltz” had Osby giving things a different twist by laying slightly behind the beat. During the saxophonist’s solo, Broween’s displaced triplets created a varied and highly interactive background, which in turn enticed Osby. Closing out the afternoon, Monk’s “Bye-Ya” and Lee Morgan’s “The Sidewinder” were choice items for this quartet, a highly integrated unit that certainly has to be one of the best groups Osby has assembled to date.


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Monterey Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Monterey Jazz Festival 2017
by Josef Woodard
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Match&Fuse Dublin 2017 Live Reviews Match&Fuse Dublin 2017
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 24, 2017
Read Antonio Sanchez Group at Jazz Standard Live Reviews Antonio Sanchez Group at Jazz Standard
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 24, 2017
Read WOMAD 2017 Live Reviews WOMAD 2017
by Martin Longley
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Punkt Festival 2017 Live Reviews Punkt Festival 2017
by Henning Bolte
Published: September 17, 2017
Read Gary Clark, Jr. and Jimmie Vaughan at the Iridium Live Reviews Gary Clark, Jr. and Jimmie Vaughan at the Iridium
by Mike Perciaccante
Published: September 16, 2017
Read "TD Ottawa Jazz Festival 2017" Live Reviews TD Ottawa Jazz Festival 2017
by John Kelman
Published: June 29, 2017
Read "Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival 2017" Live Reviews Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival 2017
by R.J. DeLuke
Published: July 5, 2017
Read "European Jazz Conference 2016" Live Reviews European Jazz Conference 2016
by Ian Patterson
Published: October 6, 2016
Read "Kim Nalley's Tribute to Nina Simone" Live Reviews Kim Nalley's Tribute to Nina Simone
by Walter Atkins
Published: March 31, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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