GREG OSBY — Banned In New York (review)

GREG OSBY — Banned In New York album cover Live album · 1998 · Post Bop Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Similarities with Miles Davis "At The Plugged Nickel" with not only the music but the atmosphere injected into the recording. Sure it is not the famous Quintet but the music has a similar hurried Bop feel with the timing and the way Greg and the band play their solos in a manner that just keeps it all moving along. The other point is "Greg Osby" decided to use a mini disc player placed on a table in front of the bandstand and that was it. Lo-fi but not in a bad way it actually does enhance the music and it does sound like you are in a club with banter and glasses,applause etcetera in the background with the music still being quite enjoyable. Raw and uncompromising Jazz is what this album is about with only one ballad which is beautifully treated written by "Duke Ellington" and all the compositions bar the first are written by Jazz greats such as "Sonny Rollins","Charlie Parker", "Thelonious Monk" and of course the Duke. Greg has penned one and that is the first composition "13th Floor". The band are a Quartet and are all his regulars at the time with "Jason Moran" on piano, "Atushi Osada" playing bass,"Rodney Green" drums and "Greg Osby" is blowing his alto saxo-phone. The band were not even aware that the recording was taking place except Greg of course who stated that he did not want them to feel uptight, he just wanted to record what they really sound like on a normal night for this period back in 1998. The club where the recording took place is undisclosed and the audience were unaware as well because as Greg said he just wanted a normal night with half the audience not even listening.The sound being recorded in the manner that it was does give a little uneven distrubution with the band members but it is not too bad. Of course Greg's alto is loud and clear but Rodney on the drums has lost a little volume but there was only one microphone on the table and the closer you are the louder you will be. Still though the atmosphere is there and it does have that 40, to 60's live recorded sound with some absolutely awesome jazz played by the entire band.

"13th Floor a mid tempo Greg Osby composition is the begining to this show and with a fairly down tempo intro by Greg and the band with some wonderful phrasing from Greg during his solo. Jason Moran is superb with his turn on piano and as Greg did he builds throughout.The first four tunes are all between 12 to 14 minutes in length so each musician gets plenty of space and with the following the Sonny Rollins tune "Pent Up House" is at a quicker tempo and played with great intensity and the entire band are just pushing it along with a great Bop influence. The Ellington tune,"I Didn't know You" is the ballad" and played beautifully. We have "Bigfoot" by "Charlie Parker" and of course it is BeBop in style and play and is the absolute highlight for me with Greg really putting that Bird influence there and the band sounding like they were back there in the early 1950,s. The Monk tune 52nd Street is the album closer and a night of classic jazz from the entire band.

Greg also did not introduce one tune throughout as Greg says "this is not radio". They just played them one straight after the other and jazz with more jazz is the result with also one very nice live jazz album included.
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