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R&B artist Jeffrey Osborne to perform Saturday at Island View

Jeffrey Osborne
Jeffrey Osborne

Jeffrey Osborne is a versatile artist. From his days as the front man for the funk band LTD ("Back in Love Again") to topping the pop charts with the R&B hit "On The Wings of Love" to his latest album, "A Time for Love," which he recorded with a jazz trio.

But when Osborne hits the Island View Casino in Gulfport at 8 p.m. Saturday, he said he hopes to hit the water.

"One of my favorite things about the Gulf Coast is red fish -- I love to eat red fish and I love fishing for red fish," Osborne said in an interview with the Sun Herald. "I hope I get to do some fishing while I'm down there."

He said his Island View show will include selections from his entire career.

"I do a lot of LTD," Osborne said. "I try to do a little bit of everything -- I can't cover everything, but I try -- I have to feel the crowd out, and I call it as I see it -- especially on the Gulf Coast, people love LTD, so I play it."

South Mississippians aren't the only ones who love LTD. Osborne said the band had a very special fan in the Minneapolis area.

Prince loved LTD, and he used to come to every show we played in Minneapolis," Osborne said. "He was a special guy."

A time for jazz

Osborne's latest album "A Time for Love" is a collection of jazz standards that he recorded with his longtime producer, George Duke. Sadly, it was the last album Duke made as he died in August 2013.

"It was the last album he did with another artist," he said. "We made a lot of great albums together -- George is phenomenal man. His death was unexpected and that made it harder to deal with. He meant so much to me."

Making an album of jazz standards is not a far stretch for Osborne, whose father played with Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton. He said he started listening to jazz at an early age.

"Growing up, I had to listen to jazz -- my father demanded it," he said. "My roots are in jazz -- I had to wait my turn to listen to my Mowtown stuff and my dad would say, 'Turn that s---- off, they are singing out of tune.'"

Although he grew up a fan of jazz, Osborne said his record companies would not let him release a jazz album.

"I was finally at a point where I could do it, so I hand-picked the songs, and I made the record I've always wanted to make with George's help," he said.

The album was recorded with a trio, Osborne said, but it features an appearance form one of today's hottest jazz players -- Kamasi Washington.

"We recorded it all live, and it was amazing," he said. "Kamasi didn't record it live with us, he came in and did his parts later. I kept hearing so much about him and how he had this Coltrane vibe about him and man, he's something special."

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