Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Jazz Guitar Of Mary Osborne

Mary Osborne
Mary Osborne (1921-1992) was an American jazz guitarist, who is almost forgotten today but should be ranked among the crop of the cream of the 1940s pioneers of the electric jazz guitar. - Osborne was born in Minot, North Dakota. She learned violin as a child and could also play guitar and bass by age 15. She heard Charlie Christian play in Al Trent's band at a stop in Bismarck, North Dakota; Christian became one of her most prominent influences. She went on to tour with Buddy Rogers, Dick Stabile, Terry Shand, Joe Venuti, and Russ Morgan, and recorded with Mary Lou Williams, Beryl Booker, Coleman Hawkins, Mercer Ellington, Ethel Waters, Wynonie Harris a.o.. - Below I'll insert some examples of Mary Osborne's excellent playing which have been uploaded at You Tube.

Signature 15087-A, Blues In Mary's Flat
Mary Osborne had recorded her own Blues In Mary's Flat together with Stuff Smith in 1944, two years later she recorded it again with her own trio for the Signature label. The trio has Sanford Gold on piano, Mary Osborne on electric guitar and Frenchy Couette double bass.

Signature 15087-B, Oops My Lady
The flip side of the Signature 15087 disc had another tune by the trio composed by Mary Osborne, Oops My Lady  

Mary Lou Williams
Mary Osborne was featured with pianist Mary Lou Williams' Girl Stars in a session for Continental recorded February 1946 in New York. The quintet include Mary Lou Williams (p), Mary Osborne (el g), Bea Taylor (b), Marjorie Hyams (d) and Bridget O'Flynn (vib). The session was produced by Leonard Feather, here is the quintet's version of Feather's tune titled D.D.T. 

At the same session was recorded a version of the well known He's Funny That Way, where Mary Osborne also gets a chance to add her pleasant vocal to the music

Coleman Hawkins
The day after the Mary Lou Williams recording session, Mary Osborne was featured with Coleman Hawkins And His 52Nd Street All Stars in four sides recorded for Victor in New York. The All Stars ensemble is an octet and include Charlie Shavers (tp), Pete Brown (as), Coleman Hawkins, Allen Eager (ts), Jimmy Jones (p), Mary Osborne (el g), Al McKibbon (b) and Shelly Manne (d). One of the recorded tunes titled Spotlite has Mary Osborne in the spotlight contributing great solo playing

To end this small portratit of a great jazz guitarist, here's a saved live recording on TV from 1958 - audio and video quality is not the best, however, the music is excellent. The tune played is I Surrender Dear 


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1 comment:

  1. Great to read some information about this forgotten guitarist. Great post - thanks.