Greg Osby

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Greg Osby
Osby performing in 2008
Osby performing in 2008
Background information
Born (1960-08-03) August 3, 1960 (age 61)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
GenresFree jazz, free funk, M-Base
Occupation(s)Musician, record label owner
Years active1980–present
LabelsJMT, Blue Note
Associated actsStata Institute, M-Base Collective

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[edit]

Title Recorded Released Label Notes
Greg Osby and Sound Theatre May–June 1987 (*) 1987 JMT
Mindgames May 1988 1988 JMT
Season of Renewal July 1989 1989 JMT
Man-Talk for Moderns Vol. X October–November 1990 1991 Blue Note
3-D Lifestyles 1993 Blue Note
Black Book 1995 Blue Note
Art Forum 1996 Blue Note
Further Ado 1997 Blue Note
Zero January 1998 1998 Blue Note
Banned in New York 1998 Blue Note Live
Friendly Fire December 1998 1999 Blue Note with Joe Lovano
New Directions May 1999 2000 Blue Note with Stefon Harris, Jason Moran, Mark Shim
The Invisible Hand September 1999 2000 Blue Note With Gary Thomas, Andrew Hill, Jim Hall, Scott Colley, Terri Lyne Carrington
Symbols of Light (A Solution) January 2001 2001 Blue Note
Inner Circle April 1999 2002 Blue Note
St. Louis Shoes January 2003 2003 Blue Note
Public January 2004 2004 Blue Note Live
Channel Three February 2005 2005 Blue Note
9 Levels August 2008 2008 Inner Circle Music

As sideman[edit]

With Franco Ambrosetti

With Cecil Brooks III

With Uri Caine

With Steve Coleman

With Andrew Cyrille

With Robin Eubanks

With Gary Thomas

With Andrew Hill

With Jason Moran

With Tineke Postma


  1. ^ a b Feather, Leonard; Gitler, Ira (1999). "Osby, Greg". The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 508.
  2. ^ a b c d "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.

External links[edit]