GREG OSBY — Further Ado

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GREG OSBY - Further Ado cover
4.00 | 1 rating | 1 review
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Album · 1997

Filed under Post Bop
By GREG OSBY

Tracklist

1 Six Of One 3:52
2 Transparency 6:31
3 Mentor's Prose 4:32
4 Heard 4:50
5 The 13th Floor 6:50
6 Soldan 6:00
7 Of Sound Mind 4:54
8 The Mental 5:06
9 Tenderly 5:26
10 Vixen's Vance 6:01

Line-up/Musicians

Alto Saxophone – Greg Osby
Bass – Calvin Jones, Lonnie Plaxico
Drums – Eric Harland
Flute, Clarinet – Cleave Guyton
Percussion – Jeff Haynes
Piano – Jason Moran
Tenor Saxophone – Mark Shim
Trumpet – Tim Hagans

About this release

Blue Note ‎– 7243 8 56543 2 9 (US)

Recorded at Systems Two, Brooklyn NY

Thanks to snobb for the addition and js for the updates

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js
If someone were to stop me on the street and ask me to name one artist who epitomizes modern jazz, there’s a good chance my answer would be saxophonist Greg Osby. Take his “Further Ado” album, although released in 1997, if I were to hear it in a blindfold test, I would have guessed it just came out this year. Although Greg has recorded many hip hop and avant-funk oriented electronic discs, “Further Ado” features a large acoustic ensemble and it is pretty much pure jazz, although its jazz of a very modern and eclectic mix. Greg and his crew on here mix up post bop, fusion, free jazz and Afro-Latin grooves in compositions that are unmistakably downtown NYC. Like so much of today’s jazz, the melodies and tonality on here veer from extended harmonies out into atonality without a noticeable difference between the two. The line between playing with the chords, or moving outside, is blurred.

Osby has an excellent nine piece mini big band assembled on here with top musicians in every chair, but honorable mention can go to drummer Eric Harland, who handles a myriad of rhythmic styles, and pianist Jason Moran, whose lively solos mix Herbie Hancock elegance with Matthew Shipp styled intense mayhem. Many of the tracks on “Further Ado” are good, but this album’s main weakness is a preponderance of tracks with slower tempos. The abstract melodies on here are not particularly memorable, therefore a certain amount of energy is needed to keep things interesting. The slower numbers aren’t really ballads per se, there is not really enough melody for that, but are more like bump-n-grind jam sessions that don’t always gel. Certainly one of the best tracks on here is the more energetic “Heard”, on which trumpeter Tim Hagans mirrors the angry blasts of Miles’ “Live at the Fillmore’. We certainly get enough modern trumpeters who echo Miles’ soft mute sound, its nice to hear someone who remembers his other side.

In short, this album’s strong points are its very ‘modernity’, its smart music that avoids anything predictable or cliché. The lines between swing, funk and rock, as well as differences between outside or straight ahead soloing, are all blurred. This album’s weakness is a lack of memorable melodic writing, which is magnified when the band covers one standard, “Tenderly”. Now there’s a melody you can hang your hat on, and it stands out after hearing so many tracks that feature purposeful modern abstraction that can sometimes hit a level of numbness.

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