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Symbols of Light (A Solution) Import

11 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, July 31, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Thunderstorm. Experience the rapture of nature's own symphony, the celestial sounds of the thunderstorm. The night sky lights up, the rain begins to fall, and you slowly drift into a sense of peace, sell-bing and total relaxation.

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The strings and sax format has been utilized by a number of jazz greats, from Charlie Parker to Stan Getz and now alto and soprano saxophonist Greg Osby. He's working with a combo featuring the young piano whiz Jason Moran, augmented by a string quartet, which complements the leader's atmospheric and snaky sax lines. The compositions exhibit a beautiful blend of the compositional and improvisational genius of Eric Dolphy, Andrew Hill, Henry Threadgill, Wayne Shorter, and Muhal Richard Abrams. That blend is heard on the evocative, impressionistic expressions of "M" and the anthemic "Repay in Kind." The standard "Wild Is the Wind" is reborn with a darker harmonic hue. The strings supply Osby's songs with ethereal, classically tinged textured expressions. Osby plays, arranges, and composes with imagination and ingenuity--and the best is yet to come. --Eugene Holley Jr.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 31, 2001)
  • Original Release Date: 2001
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Blue Note Records
  • Run Time: 62 minutes
  • ASIN: B00005MAG6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #352,427 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Paul Frandano on December 16, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Invoke Kind of Blue and I suppose you've aroused a distinct category of expectations. EVERYone knows (and owns) Miles' masterwork (even if it's the only jazz disc in his/her collection). But apart from jazz devotees, who knows Greg Osby? If everything were right in the world, EVERYone would know Greg Osby as well.

How tired are you of hearing Kind of Blue is "the most beautiful jazz recording ever made"? I surmise we all have candidates for that claim (and several by Davis sidemen from the Blue sessions). But listeners with ears trained for music of the year 2001 have Symbols of Light (A Solution), an adventurously ambitious, achingly beautiful jazz recording that is surely the loveliest I've heard this year (and I can think of few rivals from earlier years). Although I emphasize "jazz"--for it is such--all the references I want to make are to classical performance. Osby's music here contains passages of almost Mendelssohnian lyricism--or Mendelssohn in American dress, as in Barber's Adagio or Violin Concerto. It has agitated passages that are reminiscent of early and late Stravinsky (see track two, pianist Jason Moran's "Repay in Kind.") Its individual tracks have a shapeliness, an architectonic pleasingness, that I find rare in most contemporary jazz (that's not merely of the neo-bop, hard bop variety) or contemporary "classical" composition.

Symbols of Light (A Solution)--and what IS it with this title? Osby tours this music as Greg Osby and Symbols of Light, so is the quartet Symbols of Light and the album title (A Solution)? We get no help from the liner notes--fits my colloquial understanding of "American Classical Music." It is idiomatically All American. It is serious without being self conscious.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By p dizzle on August 7, 2001
Format: Audio CD
mr. osby has been giving his audience wonderful images of his developing and deepening talent over his last few albums. the brilliant "banned in new york" recorded straight to a portable digital recorder in a club was superb. last year's "invisible hand" continued the streak with gret guest performances by andrew hill and jim hall. now this year, we get an altogether different vision with "symbols of light," recorded with mr. osby's base quartet and augmented with a string quartet. the result is one of the finest chamber jazz sets, right up there with the best of the modern jazz quartet. the album gets a further nod for not being afraid to bend the frame with references to eric dolphy, ornette coleman, and arthur blythe. the strings serve as a collective fifth instrument for these arrangements,enhancing the tonality and showing some intersting motifs all their own. mr. osby sounds great on alto and soprano sax with solos on "m", "this is bliss," "wild is the wind", and "repay in kind" jumping out. jason moran continues his own growth with one of his best performances. all of his solos sing and swing in this edgy set. this set does swing, but with that off-kilter lilt of thelonious monk rather than the straight-ahead swing of, say, duke ellington. get it and enjoy it. and if you really like it, try arthur blythe's album, "basic blythe" (if you can find it, alas) where the overlooked talent of the alto sax is paired with another stellar string quartet.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mark Turner on July 31, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I've been familiar with Greg Osby's talent for a short time. Primarily with his work with other artists: Gary Thomas, New Directions, and Stefon Harris. Greg has a unique voice which is smooth and intense. His talent, producing, and arranging skills are immense and are always evolving.
Symbols of Light is fantastic new chapter in his evolving process. Don't expect Parker with Strings. Don't expect what you've heard on his other recordings. Do expect stellar musicians and music. This is a totally new and fresh approach. The strings play an intricate part and are not just a backdrop. The selections are, inviting, cool, driving, and beautifully haunting. Atmospheric. This should be a candidate for one of the best pieces of jazz this year.
markT.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By N. Dorward on December 2, 2001
Format: Audio CD
It's commonplace for jazz fans to frown on attempts to combine strings with jazz--I've rarely come across a reference to the 1950s Third Stream in the literature which didn't immediately rush to say how misguided such attempts at generic blends are. Yet there have been lots of interesting & satisfying attempts at combining strings with small-group jazz; jazz greats like Max Roach & Lee Konitz have done so on occasion to great effect, for instance. I think this new Greg Osby recording benefits from its coming late to the field. Strings fit very poorly into the fast-moving changes-based jazz of bebop. But the complex yet slow-moving harmonies of Osby's disc work very well with the strings, & the disc also obviously draws on the 1960s avantgarde's use of bass, cello & violin for purposes of texture or drones--note in particular Andrew Hill's brilliant use of two basses on _Smokestack_ (one conventionally plucked, another--Richard Davis--played arco). This is decidedly a jazz album, entirely idiomatic--most of it is for instance quite driving & hardswinging, not rubato in a "classical" manner (contrast Lee Konitz's brilliant _Plays French Impressionist Music_, which is unapologetically "classical" in feel).
Osby is by now one of the most distinctive saxophonists in jazz--kudos to him for refusing to become yet another Coltrane, Rollins & Parker disciple. Moran's piano is less idiosyncratic here than on other recordings (check out his excellent _Black Stars_) but is deservedly prominently featured--the album leads off, in fact, with a low-key waltz introduction from him on piano which unexpectedly intensifies in feeling as alto & strings enter.
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