Greg Osby Quartet
Sunday, October 19th, 8 p.m.| Fulkerson Recital Hall, HSU
"A mentor and a pacesetter, one of the sturdier bridges between jazz generations."
—Nate Chinen, New York Times
"A conceptualist in constant pursuit of new ideas."
—Mark F. Turner, All About Jazz
A few years ago, New York’s storied Village Vanguard celebrated alto saxophonist Greg Osby’s 50th birthday with a weeklong residency. Since then, he’s been one of a small handful of artists to be accorded that honor annually—just one mark of his stature in the field.
Osby was born in St. Louis, studied at Howard and Berklee, and after moving to New York, apprenticed with such luminaries as Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Jack DeJohnette and Andrew Hill. At the same time, he was one of the founders of the M-Base Collective, which shook up jazz in the late ‘80s by pursuing original theories of improvising and placing funk and West African drumming on an equal footing with Charlie Parker and Ornette Coleman. Blue Note Records signed Osby in 1990, and he recorded fifteen albums for the venerable jazz label before launching his own record company, Inner Circle Music, in 2008. As Osby transitioned from young lion to established star, he took his own turn nurturing the careers of young musicians, perhaps most notably Jason Moran, Tarus Mateen and Nasheet Waits, who first played together in Osby’s band before spinning off into the groundbreaking trio The Bandwagon. Lately, Osby’s independent label has served as an incubator for still more outstanding young talent, including tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana, vocalist Kavita Shah, and Italian pianist Simona Premazzi, who will perform with Osby in Arcata.
Premazzi, originally from a small town outside of Milano, has released three albums under her own name in addition to working with a who’s who of today’s hottest musicians, including former RJA guests Wayne Escoffery, Ari Hoenig, Rudy Royston and Johnathan Blake.
Bassist Desmond White hails from Perth, Australia and relocated to New York City five years ago to pursue a Master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music. He now plays regularly with Gilad Hekselman, Nir Felder, Camila Meza, Shai Maestro, Ari Hoenig, and Matt Wilson.
Drummer Adam Arruda is a Toronto native who studied at the Brubeck Institute and the Berklee College of Music, graduating from the latter just last year. Now based in New York City, he’s quickly establishing himself as one of the top young drummers on the scene.
Osby’s innovations in form and harmony and his sometime penchant for labyrinthine compositions associate him with a brainy brand of postbop. But you don’t have his kind of staying power unless your personal vision draws from some deep jazz wells. His 1998 album Banned in New York—which the authoritative Penguin Guide to Jazz places in its “Core Collection”—takes on tunes by Rollins, Ellington, Parker, and Monk. And when Osby is breaking in new personnel or leading a pickup band with new friends, he often returns to (and brilliantly re-imagines) Fats Waller’s classic “Jitterbug Waltz.” Maybe his ability to put a distinctive mark on such a wide range of material is why Mark Turner of All About Jazz calls Osby “One of the most forward thinking, outspoken, and at times misunderstood artists in contemporary jazz.”
Tickets ($15 General Admission, $10 Students & Seniors) are available here at our website and at People's Records, Wildwood Music, Wildberries, and The Works.
Greg Osby will also present a public workshop at noon on Monday, October 20th in Room 131 of HSU's Music Building (opposite Fulkerson Recital Hall). People of all levels of experience are welcome to attend, and admission is FREE.
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