Greg Osby

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Greg Osby
Greg Osby photo.jpg
Osby performing in 2008
Background information
Born (1960-08-03) August 3, 1960 (age 63)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Genres Free jazz, free funk, M-Base
Occupation(s)Musician, record label owner
Years active1980–present
Labels JMT, Blue Note, Inner Circle Music

Greg Osby (born August 3, 1960 [1] ) is an American saxophonist and composer.



Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Osby studied at Howard University, then at the Berklee College of Music. [1] He moved to New York City in 1982, where he played with Jaki Byard, Jim Hall, Muhal Richard Abrams, Andrew Hill, Jack DeJohnette, Dizzy Gillespie, and Herbie Hancock. [2] In 1985, he joined DeJohnette's group Special Edition. [2] With Geri Allen, Steve Coleman, Gary Thomas, and Cassandra Wilson, he was a founding member of the M-Base Collective. [3]

Osby began recording albums under his own name for JMT Records in the mid-1980s, then signed with Blue Note in 1989. [2] In 2007, he formed his own label, Inner Circle Music. [2] He gave exposure to young pianist Jason Moran, [4] who appeared on most of Osby's 1990s albums, including Further Ado, Zero, Banned in New York and Symbols of Light, a double quartet featuring the addition of a string quartet to the band. [5]

He has also played with Phil Lesh and Friends, and he has toured with the Dead, a reincarnation of the Grateful Dead. [6] He received the Playboy Magazine Jazz Artist of the Year award for 2004 and 2009. [7]

Nate Chinen, writing for The New York Times , called Osby "a mentor and a pacesetter, one of the sturdier bridges between jazz generations," and stated that he has "a keen, focused tone on alto saxophone and a hummingbird's phrasing, an equilibrium of hover and flutter." [8]


As leader

Recording dateTitleLabelYear releasedNotes
Greg Osby and Sound Theatre JMT 1987
1989-07 Season of Renewal JMT1989
Man-Talk for Moderns Vol. X Blue Note 1991
1993?3-D LifestylesBlue Note1993
1995?Black BookBlue Note1995
1996?Art ForumBlue Note1996
1997?Further AdoBlue Note1997
1997-12 Banned in New York Blue Note1998Live
1998-01ZeroBlue Note1998
1998-12 Friendly Fire Blue Note1999with Joe Lovano, Jason Moran, Cameron Brown, Idriss Muhammad
1999-04Inner CircleBlue Note2002with Stefon Harris, Jason Moran, Tarus Mateen, Eric Harland
1999-05New DirectionsBlue Note2000with Stefon Harris, Jason Moran, Mark Shim
1999-09The Invisible HandBlue Note2000with Gary Thomas, Andrew Hill, Jim Hall, Scott Colley, Terri Lyne Carrington
2001-01Symbols of Light (A Solution)Blue Note2001with Jason Moran, Scott Colley, Marlon Browden, Nioka Workman, Judith Insell, Marlene Rice, Christian Howes
2003-01St. Louis ShoesBlue Note2003
2004-01PublicBlue Note2004Live
2005-02Channel ThreeBlue Note2005with Jeff "Tain" Watts, Matt Brewer
2008-089 Levels Inner Circle Music 2008
2023-10MinimalismInner Circle Music2023with Tal Cohen, João Barradas, Nimrod Speaks, Adam Arruda, Viktorija Pilatovic, Alessandra Diodati

As sideman

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  1. 1 2 Feather, Leonard; Gitler, Ira (1999). "Osby, Greg". The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 508.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Greg Osby: Biography". All About Jazz. Retrieved February 22, 2022.
  3. Ankeny, Jason. "Greg Osby". AllMusic . Retrieved June 4, 2017.
  4. Chinen, Nate (2019). Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Century. Vintage Books. pp. 106–108.
  5. Lyles, Ronald (April 6, 2011). "Greg Osby Discography". Retrieved February 28, 2022.
  6. Varga, George (October 24, 2014). "Sax Great Greg Osby Transcends the Dead". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved February 28, 2022.
  7. Fripp, Matt (January 21, 2022). "Interview with American Saxophone Great Greg Osby". JazzFuel. Retrieved February 28, 2022.
  8. Chinen, Nate (August 4, 2010). "Bridging Jazz Generations Without Nostalgia". New York Times. Retrieved February 28, 2022.