2012 Taichung Jazz Festival Artist Spotlight: Greg Osby and
Words by Douglas Habecker
Translated by Angel Pu
One of the most pleasing experiences at the Taichung Jazz Festival has been the opportunity to enjoy on-stage collaborations between a wide range of artists, often separated by generations, backgrounds and cultures. The friendly, quick rapport that appears to develop almost instantly among these musicians and the seamless performances they give speak volumes about the innate nature of jazz.
One such collaboration already scheduled for this year's festival promises to deliver fresh thrills to music lovers and will be seen on the main stage during the Oct. 20 opening-night concert, when American jazz saxophone great will join rising Korean star, jazz pianist Janguen Bae (JB) on the main stage.
Especially known as a purveyor of free jazz, free funk and M-Base styles, saxophonist, composer, producer and educator Osby has joined the ranks of leading modern jazz artists over the past quarter century, leading his own ensembles, performing with a variety of famed jazz groups and winning plenty of awards and critical acclaim along the way. He saw his talent incubated early on at Howard University and then Berklee College of Music, where he studied under accomplished jazz sax musician Andy McGhee. After playing with Jack DeJohnette-led group Special Edition and recording with Steve Coleman, Jim Hall and Andrew Hill, Osby began recording his own releases in the 1980s, with his most impressive albums coming later under Blue Note. In 2008, he also launched his own Inner Circle Music label and uses it and performances to showcase a variety of up-and-coming jazz talent, and is currently a faculty member at Berklee.
With his record for promoting younger artists, it's no surprise that Osby will be playing with Jangeun Bae, who he first invited to perform with him in Philadelphia in 2007. JB has also released a collaborative album, "Go", with Osby, who has praised her music as evoking "a humanistic quality and innocence, full of emotional expression and spirit”. Already making her mark globally as one of top jazz pianists of her generation, she has garnered attention and strong reviews with stand-out performances at international showcases like the Toronto International Jazz Festival, leading Asian jazz festivals, and tours of Japan and Europe. Splitting her time professionally between Seoul and New York, she more recently saw her first North American album, "Go Plus", under Osby's Inner Circle Music in 2010.
The 9-day 2012 Taichung Jazz Festival is taking place between Oct. 20 and 28. For more information, read this month's cover story or check official website http://www.taichungjazzfestival.com.tw and Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/taichungJAZZfestival.