13 February 2009

Mike Osborne at the BBC 1980

When something like this turns up, it goes right to the top of the queue. This is a set of two broadcasts from the BBC in 1980.

The facts:


Mike Osborne Quartet

Jazz In Britain, BBC radio, 19th May 1980

Mike Osborne (as), Dave Holdsworth (tpt, fglh), Paul Bridge (b), Tony Marsh (d)

1. Snow Blindness
2. That's It!
3. Younis
4. radio outro


Mike Osborne Quartet

BBC Jazz Club, 1st June 1980

Mike Osborne (as), Dave Holdsworth (tpt, fglh), Paul Bridge (b), Andy Rosner (d)

1. Making Ends Meet
2. radio announcer
3. New Waltz
4. radio announcer
5. Straight Jack
6. radio outro

The presenter of the first broadcast was Charles Fox (as can be heard) and of the second, Peter Clayton, both of them regular BBC jazz presenters at the time and both, alas, deceased. And so is Mike Osborne.

Here's a reminiscence from his partner on these dates, taken from the inner sleeve of the cd reissue of two Ogun Osborne releases, Dave Holdsworth:

I played numerous gigs with Mike between the mid 1960s and 1982. My lasting impression is of music and performance of total integrity, searing passion, risk-taking and improbable tempos. I suspect that the music was as challenging for the listener as for the musicians. On every gig each tune was played with the same sense of urgency and surprise as when it had been first encountered. Verbal direction from Mike was virtually non-existent - you relied on your musical wits and what you had learned from playing with him over the years. Having recently transcribed many of his compositions from tapes of old broadcasts, I found that Mike's idiosyncratic concept of time and phrasing often resulted in complex notation which is difficult to read, whilst to the ears the tunes are readily accessible and easy to remember.

Another quote, from Charles Fox, from the same source:

Identity is at the heart of jazz; the way a musician is recognisably the same person from start to finish of his career, despite going through different phases, evolving different techniques. In a perfect world no good jazz player would ever be required to carry a passport, only to blow a handful of notes.

Recorded from radio onto cassette tape by "aw4". Pic above courtesy of Ogun records.

RIP Mike.


kinabalu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jazzme said...

Inconstant sol could you please add this to your blog friends list , I am jazzme I leave comments about some of my links and try to discuss the music ,glad you are finally taking back your comment section . I have a blog now that will have any genre of music please add me to friends list thanks Steve . http://anythinggoes-jazzme.blogspot.com/

amnesia said...

This is a very welcome post, I hope it reaches a large appreciative audience, thanks very much

Anonymous said...

I'm the "AW4" who seeded these two sessions. I'm amazed at how popular they are. I saw Mike many times in the 70's and the audiences were always very sparse.

I was at an Isipingo session in Ealing with the vast audience of less than 10!

I guess it is like most artists, you have to die to become popular.

jazzme said...

Listened to a track really looking forward to the rest of this , thanks . I really hope you can add my above link to your blog list thanks Steve

wightdj said...

Very nice, not enough Osborne available, this helps. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Warmest thanks to AW4 and Kinabalu for making these important sessions available both here and on Dime. I too had the honour of hearing Mike Osborne live on London stages in the early 1970's, and was, like everyone, struck by his passionate, committed and daring approach to the music.

It must also be said however that we were struck also by the very evident and tragic effects of drugs and alcohol on him and his performances, which might perhaps explain his tiny audiences.

What most of us did not know at that time was that he was suffering from the onset of mental illness. For this, if nothing else, one has the utmost sympathy for the man, and so we forgive his more human transgressions.

longbranch said...

I'm new here, for comments, and only been checking in at this site and others for a few months, but you guys are really superb in your devotion to the music and I really appreciate it. Thanks to kinabalu and AW4 for the Osbourne, bravo! I never saw him but have long been an enthusiast of the Brotherhood of Breath, since I first saw them in the 1980s, and so much radiates from there. For now, just wanted to say a big overdue and accumulated thanks!

kinabalu said...

Slightly perturbed by aw4's comment that an Isipingo concert was attended by less than 10. Still, there were a few who saw the light (while it was still on). Paradoxically, there have been more Isipingo releases in recent years than in the band's lifetime. There's a brand new release out which I haven't heard yet.

gilhodges said...

As my fellow baseball fans would say—you've knocked another one out of the park! It is especially poignant to hear Ossie from so late in his performing life. These Beeb Sessions are so crucial. The latest Ossie recording I've heard yet was also a BBC set, from April '81 w/Dave Holdsworth (tp), Paul Bridge (b) and Tony Marsh (d), but that's only two songs. Can't wait to sink my teeth into these beauties.

The recent Isipingo release referred to above is from the wonderful folks at Toronto's Reel Recordings. It is a work of certifiable genius. Everyone should run, not walk, to get a copy. (Of course Reel Recordings is also responsible for 2008's Mike Osborne release Force of Nature, which is a stunner.

Anonymous said...

I remember staying up and taping the session with Making Ends Meet.Also hearing Osbornes Trio w Louis Moholo and Harry Miller in Manchester was about the best gig I ever witnessed.

Anonymous said...

Two things:
Firstly, it doesn't suprise me that there were less than 10 people at the Isipingo gig. I've played many such gigs (including with several former members of Isipingo), and there are often less than 10 people in the audience. So please go to more gigs!
Secondly, the recording of the second session (BBC Jazz Club) seems to be running a little fast - just over a quarter-tone I would say. So when you've downloaded this, slow it down slightly to hear the music as it should be heard...

noteworthy said...

Thank you very much for this.

matt w said...

Thank you very much for this post -- I've been looking for more Osborne since I heard his work on Ode with the London Jazz Composers Orchestra.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for this - some of these vintage BBC radio sessions are a real treat!

Anonymous said...

Be great if this could be reposted - takes me back to the Peanuts when my brother used to play with Ozzy - happy heady times

kinabalu said...

New links:

BBC Jazz Club:

BBC Jazz in Britain

francisco santos said...

BIG THX!....

doghouse said...

Thanks kinabalu - more Mike Osborne to come in "contributions" shortly