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Forthcoming Osby CD Is a Live One

Alto saxophonist Greg Osby’s first live album since 1998’s Banned in New York came to us in yesterday’s mail. It’s a seven-tune set titled Public that was recorded at New York’s Jazz Standard in January. Trumpeter Nicholas Payton appears on four of its tracks, and singer Joan Osborne (who sings with the resurrected Grateful Dead). Alas, you’ll have to wait until Blue Note releases it on June 1 to hear it.

Public’s track list shares three tunes with Osby’s last studio album, the standards-heavy St. Louis Shoes: Gershwin’s “Summertime,” Dizzy and Bird’s “Shaw ‘Nuff” and Leiber and Stoller’s “Bernie’s Tune.” Public also delivers a live version of “Equalatogram,” a tune from his 2002 disc Inner Circle, and two new compositions, “Rising Sun” and “Visitation.” Osby says that “Rising Sun” is “based on the harmonic framework of another one of my compositions called ‘Minstrale'” (from 1998’s Zero). And “Visitation” is based off of Toots Thielemans’ “Blues-ette.” Joan Osbourne shows up on a favorite blues of Billie Holiday’s, “Lover Man.”

The band on Public is more or less the same group that recorded St. Louis Shoes. Payton, drummer Rodney Green and bassist Robert Hurst are all returning members of the Greg Osby 5, but Shoes pianist Harold O’Neal is traded for Japanese player Megumi Yonezawa.

Public track list (* denotes tracks with Nicholas Payton):

1 Rising Sun (9:22)

2 Summertime* (10:01)

3 Visitation (13:49)

4 Bernie’s Tune* (7:32)

5 Equalatogram (4:57)

6 Shaw Nuff* (10:35)

7 Lover Man* (8:36)

In other Osby news, the saxophonist will be heading out on tour later this month with Yonezawa, bassist Matt Brewer and drummer Eric McPherson as the Greg Osby Four. Tour dates are listed at Osby’s Web site,, where Osby has also posted numerous MP3s of live performances dating back to 1997. Perhaps those downloads will tide you over until Public‘s release.

Originally Published