Monday, December 16, 2013

MIKE OSBORNE: TRIO / QUINTET – Border Crossing (1974) + Marcel's Muse (1977) – CD-2004

Label: Ogun – OGCD 015
Format: CD, Compilation, Digipack; Country: UK - Released: 2004
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
"Border Crossing" recorded live at the Peanuts Club, held at the "Kings Arms", Bishopsgate, London, E.C.2 on 28 September 1974.
"Marcel's Muse" recorded in London on 31 May 1977
Executive-Producer – Hazel Miller
Mastered By – Martin Davidson
Mixed By, Edited By – Keith Beal (tracks: 1 to 4)
Producer – Keith Beal (tracks: 1 to 4), Ron Barron (tracks: 5 to 8)
Recorded By – Ron Eve (tracks: 5 to 18)

The saxophonist Mike Osborne is pungent, sweet-and-sour, occasionally anguished tone might twinge some teeth, and almost all the material here represents a spiky, free-jazz exploration of idiosyncratic originals.

In his heyday from the late 1960s to the end of the 70s, alto saxophonist Mike Osborne was one of the most distinctive saxophone voices in Brit-jazz (and when you are talking about a school that included Elton Dean, Evan Parker, Dudu Pukwana, Alan Skidmore, etc., that is really saying something). This is two of his five albums as a leader for Ogun together and complete on one CD. "Although having retired from the music scene for well-documented health-related reasons over 20 years ago*, Osborne is still the greatest alto saxophonist ever to come out of Britain (that of course being separate and distinct from all the great alto players who came into Britain, such as Bertie King, Joe Harriott, Dudu Pukwana, Bernie Living, Ray Warleigh and Ntshuks Bonga) and this album of highlights from one of the trio ’ s many continuous performances at Stockwell ’ s Peanuts Club of the early-to-mid ‘ 70s is the unassailable proof of that assertion. He came out of Jackie McLean and Eric Dolphy via Ornette, but Osborne quickly found and established his own level of intensity, never better documented than here. As the three musicians move from tune to tune, the intensity of the music is stoked up to such a degree that side two of this album in particular is an emotionally exhausting adrenalin rush of music, easily up there with Ornette at the Golden Circle, Osborne, Miller and Moholo existing in absolute and blissful telepathy as they threaten to break all manner of sound and space barriers. This record, more than most in the Ogun catalogue, is urgently in need of reissue.
– (Text is from 2004)

*Note: Illness prevented him working from 1982. He died on 19 September 2007.

...Despite his illness and an increasing spiral of drinking and drug-taking, Ossie was able to hold things together for periods, largely due to the emotional, and financial, support of the ever-loyal Louise. Schizophrenia is perhaps the most destructive of any mental illness. Over time, the personality and the individual’s capacity to function deteriorates usually to the point where long-term care is required. That would prove the case with Mike Osborne. And yet, from 1975 even into the early-80s, Ossie produced some of his most remarkable work. Working with Hazel and Harry Miller and their Ogun record label resulted in Border Crossing with his trio with Harry and Louis and three years later in the quintet album, Marcel’s Muse, featuring Marc Charig on trumpet and the highly talented Jeff Green on guitar. There were also two albums with Stan Tracey, at the time in his most experimental phase. Both Tandem and Live at Bracknell are exceptional pieces of work and better yet are planned for reissue soon...
_ By Duncan Heining

Links in Comments!


  1. MIKE OSBORNE TRIO / QUINTET – Border Crossing (1974) + Marcel's Muse (1977) – CD-2004



    1. MIKE OSBORNE TRIO & QUINTET - Border Crossing + Marcel's Muse


  2. Hey Vitko - you're not helping my intimations of mortality. The is glorious stuff from the much-missed Osborne. Border Crossing is probably second only to the Willisau concert released as All Night Long.

    He also recorded two beauties with Stan Tracey - Tandem and Original.

  3. my lp scans of border crossing

  4. Vitko you have taught me that Ogun is always worthwhile. Many thanks!

  5. Wonderful album, in my ignorance didn't know anything about Osborne. Can't thank you enough for all the treasures you're sharing, really. Cheers Daniel, from Madrid, Spain.

  6. Any chance of posting "Outback" or "Shapes" ?

  7. Hi, I apologise i do hope you don't mind me notifying you of the dead links but i would be very greatful if you could you re-up this, some of these artists are completely new to me, and i would love to sample them, again , thanks