Symbols of Light (A Solution)

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Greg Osby is a ceaselessly inventive musician working at the cutting edge of jazz. Symbols of Light finds him leading a novel assignment of personnel -- a string quartet in addition to the standard jazz quartet model of horn and rhythm section. This lineup presents obvious challenges, in that the four strings require written-out parts in order to maintain their own group coherence but also have to fit into a heavily improvised jazz chamber setting. While others have tried this type of experiment with some success, it has never been brought to fruition with the sheer fluidity and naturalness that Osby achieves here. His trick is never to let the strings “fall out” of the ensemble. For example, in the opening number,...
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July 31, 2001 CD Good in very good packaging. Originally released: 2001. Ex) Library Copy. Moderate wear. Usual library markings.

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07/31/2001 CD Import Good All orders are shipped from Boise Idaho. While the overwhelming majority of packages shipped via Standard shipping arrive within the time specified ... above, in rare cases shipments can take 3 to 5 weeks to arrive. Please note: At this time, we ship only within the United States. Shipments to Alaska and Hawaii are shipped via our Standard option. Read more Show Less

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
Greg Osby is a ceaselessly inventive musician working at the cutting edge of jazz. Symbols of Light finds him leading a novel assignment of personnel -- a string quartet in addition to the standard jazz quartet model of horn and rhythm section. This lineup presents obvious challenges, in that the four strings require written-out parts in order to maintain their own group coherence but also have to fit into a heavily improvised jazz chamber setting. While others have tried this type of experiment with some success, it has never been brought to fruition with the sheer fluidity and naturalness that Osby achieves here. His trick is never to let the strings “fall out” of the ensemble. For example, in the opening number, “3 for Civility”, the violin and cello (and even the viola) seamlessly trade lines with the bass and piano. There is never the sense anywhere on this album that the strings are a foreign presence assigned to the musical outskirts -- or conversely, that they intrude too much and drown out the improvisation. Instead, a true integration is achieved and even, in places, a convincing spontaneity in the string quartet’s interplay with the other instruments. At times the strings seem to function as a single instrument, like a second piano, being played by a recognizable personality capable of spontaneous interchange with the other musicians. Just like any good player, they’re not afraid to sit back in spots and let the others take a line or two on their own. The tunes on the album are of a harmonic complexity that might give lesser musicians pause, but in the hands of this group they feel just right. You might find yourself easing back and just enjoying the groove, as on “This Is Bliss,” where the strings comp on a catchy lick while Osby lets loose on a sinewy solo. “M” is another standout number -- a gorgeous ballad that opens with Jason Moran’s piano above a pillow of strings that seems to pick him up and then let go as he trickles back down through chromatic key changes. In places, when the drummer lays back, the line between “classical” and jazz seems to disappear altogether, perhaps permitting that elusive musical “Third Stream” to show itself in the flesh. This is a lovely album, by a musician who probably couldn’t play an uninteresting note if he tried.-- Will Meyerhofer
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/31/2001
  • Label: Emi Import
  • UPC: 724353139520
  • Catalog Number: 531395

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 3 for Civility (5:22)
  2. 2 Repay in Kind (5:42)
  3. 3 "M" (6:57)
  4. 4 The Keep (4:14)
  5. 5 Golden Sunset (3:15)
  6. 6 This Is Bliss (5:03)
  7. 7 One Room (6:29)
  8. 8 Northbound (4:39)
  9. 9 Wild Is the Wind (3:32)
  10. 10 Social Order (3:34)
  11. 11 Minstrale Again (the Barefoot Tap Dance) (4:30)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Greg Osby Primary Artist, Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone
Scott Colley Bass, Acoustic Bass
Christian Howes Strings, Violin
Jason Moran Piano
Nioka Workman Strings, Cello
Technical Credits
Greg Osby Producer
Allan Tucker Mastering
Kevin Whitehead Liner Notes
Joseph Marciano Engineer
Gordon H. Jee Art Direction
Kay Vaughn Producer
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