Mary Osborne (1921 - 1992) began her musical career in Minot, North Dakota before she was 11 years old. In a few years she was doing radio work and soon was playing with some of the big bands then playing in the upper Midwest. She met Charlie Christian in North Dakota and she was heavily influenced by his style. But, like most of the great players she also developed her own unique approach and sound.
In the late 1930’s she moved east to Pittsburgh and later to New York. There her talents as a jazz player caught the ear of some of the jazz greats like Coleman Hawkins, Dizzy Gillespie and Art Tatum all of whom used her as rhythm and solo guitarist in their bands. In the period of 1945 – 1947 she made a number of recordings with several important jazz figures; Mercer Ellington, Mary Lou Williams, Coleman Hawkins, Stuff Smith and Meryl Booker.
During that same period she formed her own group, The Mary Osborne Trio in which she also supplied the vocal interest. Her trio made a series of successful public performances and recordings that were originally released on 78 RPM records. She later gave up the trio format to perform on her own at clubs and on TV where she played on the Arthur Godfrey and Ted Steele shows.
In the 1950’s she recorded with Tyree Glenn and produced a long playing record under her own name, A Girl and Her Guitar.
In 1968 Mary Osborne moved to Bakersfield, California where she operated the Osborne Guitar Company and performed in local venues. In 1977 she made a recording with Marian McPartland entitled Now’s The Time with a lineup of some of the best women jazz musicians of the day. In 1982 Stash records released Now And Then which included new material and material from A Girl and Her Guitar.
Mary Osborne died in Bakersfield, California in 1992.
See a selected Mary Osborne discography at Link: Osborne Discography
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