Vintage Guitar - February 2017 - Open - 68
A Girl and Her Guitar is
a must in any serious jazzguitar collection. Many of
her earlier cuts, long out of
print, have been gathered
on historic compilations
like Hittin' on All Six: New
Guitar Concepts and Swing to
Bop Guitar: Guitars in Flight
Several significant performances are posted online.
A superb (and instructive)
performance of "The Man
I Love" from 1958 includes
commentar y by Marian
McPartland and provides
an especially engrossing
view not only of Osborne
as a jazz artist, but a skilled
improvisation as a whole.
Also highly recommended
are numerous performances
from "Art Ford's Jazz Party,"
some with Billie Holiday, as
well as the clip dubbed "Jazz
Shredder Chick - 1958" that
features an extended flight on
"I Surrender, Dear."
Osborne played amplified
archtop guitars. Her main
instruments in the '40s was
the sunburst Gibson ES-150,
but at the time she also had
a blond ES-150 and sunburst L-5 with DeArmond
reinvented in her 1950s-'60s period. Notice the frequent
Mary in a minor mode. Cole Porter's "I Love Paris" provides
pickup. In the '50s and early
use of 6th and 9th tones (F# and B) in the A minor lines.
a suitable swinging backdrop for her grooving minor
'60s, she began endorsing
melodies. Her improvisations are typically groove-based
She treats the Bm7b5-E7 changes with more expanded
Gretsch guitars and was seen
as she settles into a swinging medium up-tempo pocket.
usage of extensions and chromaticism, as heard in her
in promo materials with a
There are numerous exemplary rhythmic motifs using
ascending slur in measures 9-10. The blues factor is
Country Club and on her
repeated notes and syncopation, and attractive riff-like
manifested in a slick string bend over Bm7b5 in 15 and
'59 debut album with a prefigures. Many of her swing elements were recalled and
opening phrase that evokes an enriched pentatonic melody.
production prototype of the
flagship White Falcon. In
performance, she still favored a sunburst '52 finish, ornate appointments, wood bridge,
Wolf Marshall is the founder and original editorGibson L-5C or her custom blond Stromberg and a floating DeArmond pickup, and was
seen in the 1958 "Man I Love" clip. Both had seen often in her hands during the next two in-chief of GuitarOne magazine and a respected
floating DeArmond pickups and wood bridges. decades. At her final performances at NYC's author and columnist who has been influential in
The Stromberg was one of a very few cutaway Village Vanguard in 1991 she returned to her contemporary music education since the early 1980s.
L-5. In her early days she played a custom- His latest releases include 101 Must-Know Rock
In '62, Osborne acquired a custom archtop built amplifier, then gravitated to the Gibson Licks, B.B. King: the Definitive Collection, and Best
made by W.G. Barker, protege of Elmer Strom- EH-185 of the '40s, finally favoring a large and of Jazz Guitar. Wolf's list of credits can be found at
berg. This luxurious archtop had a sunburst powerful Osborne amp with four speakers.