Greg Osby: Pent-Up House
Greg Osby (alto sax)
Banned In New York (Blue Note 96860)
Atsushi Osada (bass), Rodney Green (drums).
Composed by Sonny Rollins.
Recorded: live at Sweet Basil, New York, 1998
Rating: 98/100 (learn more)
Blue Note packaged this CD to resemble a bootleg, what with the crude "graphics" and the pseudo-provocative behind-the-counter title. The music, however, is far from unfinished and inaccessible. Osby and Moran play like inspired, more progressive versions of Charlie Parker and Bud Powell, as might have been captured informally on tape by the 1998 equivalent of Dean Benedetti. Here Osby and Moran are indeed plugged in to the modern jazz innovations of the '40s and '50s, but with a fresh individuality that is both respectful and forward looking, a clear indicator of the great music these two essential artists would continue to produce in the years ahead.
"Pent-Up House" runs over 13 absorbing minutes, with the single taping device putting Osada's reverberating bass and Green's crisply aggressive drumming up front in the mix at the expense of Moran's piano. Osby's fleet opening solo is basically a heady brew of hard and post-bop, with extended runs dominating except for an occasional spiky, dissonant aside. His pace is unrelenting, his inventiveness unflagging. Unfortunately, Moran's energetic comping cannot be clearly heard, and at one point he appears to drop out entirely. The pianist's own compelling solo is much easier to discern, as Osby is now out of the picture. Moran starts out tranquilly, but is soon flying over the keys with forcefully repeated chords and swirling phraseology. Osby reenters at the peak of his powers, like Moran before him passionately reconstructing elements of Rollins's familiar tune. A quick reprise leads to a seamless nonstop segue into the next tune and track, "I Didn't Know About You." This is live jazz at its unfettered, invigorating best.
Reviewer: Scott Albin