Osian Roberts has made waves in the UK and Czech jazz scenes playing with many of the leading UK jazz musicians as well as leading his own trio and big band (featuring Svatopluk Kosvanec, George Mraz and Hod O' Brien, debut album 'Unforgettable'). He studied in the UK and the USA with Steve Grossman, Dick Oatts, Jim McNeely and Joe Lovano.
Steve Fishwick has played with most leading UK jazz musicians (Sir John Dankworth, the BBC Big Band, Peter King and Mike Carr amongst many, many others), many of the leading European musicians such as George Mraz, Dado Moroni and Joe Haider and many US musicians such as Anita O' Day (recording with her on her last album 'Indestructible!'), Scott Hamilton, Herb Geller, Lanny Morgan, Richie Cole, Bob Cranshaw, Earl May, Lew Soloff, Clifford Jarvis, Ronnie Cuber, Keith Copland, Ben Dixon, John Riley and Hod O' Brien amongst others. He won the 2002 British Jazz Awards 'Rising Star' prize and in the same year toured the UK with Alan Barnes in place of the great U.S. trumpeter Conte Candoli who sadly and unexpectedly passed away. He also leads his own quartet (check out 'Upfront!' on Hard Bop Records)
Osian and Steve have been working together for the past six years, recording two albums to great critical acclaim ('Too Much!' and 'On The Up and Up'). Their latest album was recorded in New York and features the legendary Cedar Walton on piano and the great Peter Washington on bass.
"This record label (Hard Bop Records) has a brilliant concept. They like to record their musicians in an open environment, jusy like Rudy Van Gelder did back when Prestige and Blue Note were formidable purveyors of quality jazz. So you have the studio set up and engineers in place. Now all you need is a good band. Roberts and Fishwick's quintet fit the bill. They play hard bop in the same exciting manner that got us oldies parting with our money for those expensive US imports back when we were hip, or thought we were. The sound of the band is caught with startling clarity and the music just hammers home that dynamic Blue Note style. Crisp solos and vibrant rhythm. The tunes are all original except for Gershwin's 'Somebody To Watch Over Me' and they all have melodic themes and substance. Five hard bop masters that are a credit to jazz in the UK proving we are leading the world when it comes to the real thing."
David Lands - 'Too Much!' reviewed in Jazz Journal
"The UK sax/trumpet partnership of Roberts and Fishwick keep the flame burning for classic bebop and inevitably their devotion to the runes of the idiom raises the question of why one wouldn't just go straight back to the landmark recordings? The answer is that Roberts and Fishwick have develepoed a loyal following in the UK that will surely want this coolly polished example of their skills. Perhaps more importantly, their work increasingly displays a special signiture, to which a raft of good originals here attests.
Fishwick's composition 'The Hit' is a deliciously lissome, long lined mid tempo bop melody, elegantly expanded by his bright-toned trumpet solo and Roberts' drily Hank Mobley-like tenor break. Roberts also brings a reflectiveness and weight to his variations on 'I Loves You Porgy'. Fishwick's 'A Pocketful Of Grease', with its blues shape and funky piano vamp, could have come straght off a 1960s Lee Morgan Blue Note album, but the musicians develop it with canny deliberation - but oddly its the artless lyrical simplicity of 'Swanee River' that's one of the most affecting episodes on the set. This is music at the high end of a jazz persuasion that, although unfashionable, helps keep the scene nourished."
John Fordham - 'On the Up and Up' reviewed in The Guardian
"With a label called 'Hard Bop Records', there's not much doubt about the style of music you're likely to hear, and this is indeed timeless stuff. But if they could be transported back to 1960s New York, this band would upset ideas about what it takes to be a born jazz musician. Roberts has a vigorous yet mellow tenor saxophone style, whilst Steve Fishwick's trumpet crackles with energy. Pianist Olivier Slama, drummer Matt Fishwick and Bassist Dave Chamberlain are equally impressive. There are other young bands playing in this genre but few with such panache."
Dave Gelly - 'Too Much!' reviewed in The Observer