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  Listen Up! 6/26/03 Listen Up!

Thursday, June 26

Greg Osby, “St. Louis Shoes,” Blue Note Records. Interesting that Osby’s most traditional record in years should reflect his St. Louis roots. The title is a pun on our fair city’s once towering position in the footwear industry. First in shoes, first in booze, and last in the American League used to be a slogan.they lived by in this town. Anyway, I said traditional, but Osby has a wide and generous understanding of the jazz tradition. Songs here come from Duke Ellington, Dizzy and Bird, Monk, Cassandra Wilson, Gerswhin, Jack Dejohnette, Lieber and Stoller, and William Handy. Osby’s alto and Nicholas Payton’s trumpet are impeccably recorded and muscular instruments dominating the mix, though the rhythm section drives the leaders to do what they do. The arrangements are all ultra-modern and fresh, the playing stupendous, and this record jumps to the head of my jazz class this year.

--Steve Pick

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