Review - St. Louis Shoes

Artist: Greg Osby

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Though Osby is the titular leader on this session -- which finds him opting for an exploration of the canon, rather than dishing up a funk-inspired batch of originals -- the star of the show is pianist Harold O'Neal, who replaces Jason Moran in the lineup. Though Moran's talent is unimpeachable, O'Neal is twice the player. His fiery flexibility and innate sense of improvisation is what gives "St. Louis Shoes" much of its excitement and on tracks like Monk's "Light Blue," he absolutely kills. Sure, Osby's fat alto playing is a joy, and while wending his way through classics like "Summertime" and the title track, he easily demonstrates why he is one of the top players around today. And, if he keeps surrounding himself with musicians like O'Neal, it's likely he'll stay there.

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