Album label: 
Release date: 
Recording location: 
Recording date: 
Tuesday, February 1, 1972
Recording engineer: 
  • 1. Shapes part 1 part 2 (19:52)
  • 2. Straight Jack (07:14)
  • 3. Doubel It (13:15)

Alto Saxophone – Mike Osborne
Double Bass – Earl Freeman, Harry Miller
Drums – Louis Moholo
Soprano Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone – John Surman
Tenor Saxophone – Alan Skidmore

I saw a lot of British Modern Jazz in London during the mid late seventies. At that time Jazz was anything but trendy and 'modernists' relied on the heroic efforts of people like Hazel Miller (Ogun) and John Jack (Cadillac) to document and give access to the cutting edge of the british post bop scene.

All the followers of the music scene owe them a debt of gratitude because the scene contained precious and extraordinary talent.

There were some truly exceptional alto players active at the time, Elton Dean, Trevor Watts and Ray Warleigh spring to mind, but for me and many others Mike Osborne was the one.

Whether in his own groups, or those of close contemporaries (John Surman, Keith Tippett, Harry Miller etc) Mike was always on maximum, his alto, a scalding onslaught of emotional and intellectual intensity unmatched this side of Jackie McLean or Marshall Allen. The main frustration was the lack of Osborne studio albums.

The session released here for the first time is an "if only they'd made a record" fantasy turned into reality. This group had a front line to torch any currently on offer, matched with a truly superb and inspired rhythm section (Louis Moholo still probably the most underrated drummer in jazz)

This music was happening and this is the vital document.
Mike's personal demons have kept him off the scene for years now, but from what I hear there is some light at the end of the tunnel, either way, this music is a startling reminder of the voice we have missed for so long.

Trevot Manwaring, 1994