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Channel 3 by Greg Osby

Greg Osby is one restless mofo - he’s tried almost every context for his terse, mercurial, energetic & mostly unpredictable alto sax, except for big band/orchestral and who knows, maybe that’s next. (Osby also plays with the Grateful Dead spin-off, the Dead.) Channel 3 finds him doing the ol’ sax/bass/drums bit, not usually my favorite set-up.... usually. This sax trio whips up enough dust so that one (meaning me) doesn’t miss a chordal instrument (piano, guitar) or another horn. These fellows play so much & so well, at times I could almost mistake them for a (seasoned, musical) rock band (strange, yet true). Jeff Watts is a monster, propulsive and seemingly multi-limbed like Art Blakey with some of that rolling New Orleans rhythm, never settling into any bop cliche. Matt Brewer has this wiry, undulating bass sound that weaves in ‘n’ out perfectly. Watts and Brewer might not sound like it on the first spin or two, but they are laying down a space-age groove, however unlike the usual grooves most of us are used to. Osby does a dandy interpretation of Ornette Coleman’s "Mob Job" and he recalls Ornette’s unique tone only tangentially as he plays with/plays upon O.C.’s Harmolodic Theory (long story). All over 3, Osby dart & dances on the high wire with a tone that’s too sharp and tart to be cool-smooth and too cool and lithe to be "out." (I would love to hear Mr. O with Lee Konitz and/or Gary Foster.) The Perfect Storm abates for the spacious, achingly & beautifully pensive "Diode Emissions" where the O-man switches to soprano (and sounds nothing like ‘Trane, Lacy or Shorter, even). 3 is the work of a lean, mean (but fair) jazz machine, confidently balancing avant-edge with snappy immediacy. To paraphrase Mr. Magoo, "Oh Osby, you’ve done it again!"

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Greg Osby
  • CD Title: Channel 3
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2005
  • Record Label: Blue Note
  • Musicians: G.O. (alto & soprano sax, voice), Matt Brewer (bass, voice), Jeff Tain Watts (drums, voice, perc)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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