California-born tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman (1969), the son of tenor saxophonist Dewey Redman, who moved to New York in 1991, was hyped as the next
Sonny Rollins or John Coltrane when he debuted at 22 with
Joshua Redman (september 1992), although his technique was a humble
blend of soul and hard-bop cliches, and, other than the Coltrane-ian Sublimation and Wish, he was still a rudimentary composer and arranger.
Wish (1993), by a piano-less quartet featuring guitarist Pat Metheny, bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Billy Higgins, was, globally, an amazing waste of talents, as it persevered in that conservative approach to hard bop and soul music.
The enfant prodige finally matured on MoodSwing (march 1994), a set of
originals for a quartet with
pianist Brad Mehldau, bassist Christian McBride and drummer Brian Blade,
that, while derivative to the point of sounding like standards,
nonetheless displayed his true voice (Rejoice, Sweet Sorrow).
A similar quartet was documented on the live double-CD Spirit of the Moment (march 1995) containing quite a few extended originals
(the waltzing soprano-led Second Snow, the ebullient and funky Herbs and Roots, the Coltrane-ian ballad Neverend, the teetering Lyric).
Adding a guitar to his favorite quartet, Redman ventured into
funk and hip-hop rhythms on Freedom in the Groove (april 1996), his
sax solos imitating gospel and soul vocals
(Invocation, Stream of Consciousness).
His most ambitious and introspective album yet, Beyond (may 1999),
experimented with different time signatures, looser improvisation and Eastern modes (Leap of Faith, Last Rites of Rock'n'Roll, Twilight and Beyond).
The seven-movement suite Passage of Time (june 2000) was the natural
evolution of that experiment, finally delving into the psyche of the musician
rather than into the tradition of jazz (Our Minuet, Bronze, Enemies Within). As his music became more profound, his melodic gift actually
became more striking.
On the other hand the trio formed with organist Sam Yahel and drummer Brian Blade, first named Yaya3 (january 2002) and then Elastic (march 2002), indulged in eclectic groove-oriented funk-soul-jazz feasts.
Momentum (2005) was an even more trivial Elastic recording.
Joshua Redman (tenor sax), Ron Miles (trumpet), Ben Goldberg (clarinets), Devin Hoff (bass), and Scott Amendola (drums) recorded Subatomic Particle Homesick Blues (february 2008).
Joshua Redman recorded the eclectic cover album Walking Shadows (september 2012) with Brad Mehldau (piano), Larry Grenadier and Timothy Cobb (basses), Brian Blade (drums), a nonet violin ensemble, Pamela Sklar (flute), Robert Carlisle (French horn), a violist and a cello trio.
Nearness (november 2011) documents a collaboration between Joshua Redman (tenor and soprano saxes) and Brad Mehldau (piano), and includes the 17-minute The Nearness Of You.
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