Greg Osby was born August 3, 1960 in St. Louis, Missouri. He majored in Jazz Studies at Howard University, then attended Berklee College of Music, studying with Andy McGhee. He played on Jack DeJohnette’s Special Edition, and has recorded with Steve Coleman, Jim Hall and Andrew Hill, thus setting the stage for Hill and Hall’s later appearance on his recording of The Invisible Hand.
He began recording under his own name in the Eighties on JMT Records, but his most celebrated work has been his run of records for the Blue Note label. Greg has followed in the footstep of many great bandleaders, discovering fresh talent and allowing players the opportunity to grow within his own band. He was responsible for giving exposure to the young pianist Jason Moran, who appeared on most of Osby’s 1990s albums including the live album Banned in New York and an experiment with adding a string quartet to the band, Symbols of Light.
Osby has contributed to the homages to Miles Davis’s 1970s electric jazz performed by Henry Kaiser and Wadada Leo Smith’s Yo Miles group and their double album Upriver. Not limiting himself to a strict jazz diet, in 2003 Osby toured North America with The Dead, a reincarnation of The Grateful Dead, and contributed in various lineups with Phil Lesh and Friends.
He has been featured in a series of magazine ads in Down Beat, JazzTimes and Saxophone Journal, and was named Playboy Magazine’s “Jazz Artist of the Year” in 2009. As an educator Greg is currently on faculty in the Ensemble Department at Berklee College of Music.
Since 1987 he has recorded nineteen albums as a leader and seven as a sideman working with Uri Caine, Steve Coleman, Robin Eubanks, Gary Thomas, CL Smooth, Joe Lovano, Stefon Harris, Jason Moran, Mark Shim, Gary Thomas, Andrew Hill, Jim Hall, Scott Colley and Teri Lynne Carrington.
Alto and soprano saxophonist Greg Osby continues to compose, record and perform mainly in the free jazz, free funk and M-Base idioms.
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