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CD Reviews: Joshua Redman

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  • May. 27, 2007
    CD Reviews: Joshua Redman

    By Lee Hildebrand
    San Francisco Chronicle

    Improvising without the aid of a chordal safety net supplied by a keyboardist (or guitarist) in the rhythm section has been a challenge for jazz horn players ever since Sonny Rollins traveled from New York to Los Angeles a half-century ago and recorded the album "Way Out West" with just a bassist and drummer. Berkeley's Joshua Redman, one of the most formidable tenor players of his generation, tackles the task with breathtaking aplomb throughout "Back East," his first CD without a pianist or organist, cut in New York with three different sets of bassists and drummers.

    He not only reinvents two tunes from Rollins' classic disc -- "I'm an Old Cowhand" and "Wagon Wheels" -- but expands the concept suggested by the title to include several original compositions that reflect his interest in Indonesian, Indian, Middle Eastern and African music, as well as such other numbers as "East of the Sun (and West of the Moon)," Wayne Shorter's "Indian Song" and John Coltrane's "India." The performances, on which Redman alternates between tenor and soprano saxophones, bristle with melodic and rhythmic surprise at every impassioned turn in the trail. He also locks horns with guest saxophonists Joe Lovano, Chris Cheek and Dewey Redman on one track apiece. Joshua steps aside on the closing selection, Dewey's simultaneously serene and incendiary "GJ," putting the spotlight on his late dad for what would turn out to be his final recording.

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on May 27, 2007

By Lee Hildebrand
San Francisco Chronicle

Improvising without the aid of a chordal safety net supplied by a keyboardist (or guitarist) in the rhythm section has been a challenge for jazz horn players ever since Sonny Rollins traveled from New York to Los Angeles a half-century ago and recorded the album "Way Out West" with just a bassist and drummer. Berkeley's Joshua Redman, one of the most formidable tenor players of his generation, tackles the task with breathtaking aplomb throughout "Back East," his first CD without a pianist or organist, cut in New York with three different sets of bassists and drummers.

He not only reinvents two tunes from Rollins' classic disc -- "I'm an Old Cowhand" and "Wagon Wheels" -- but expands the concept suggested by the title to include several original compositions that reflect his interest in Indonesian, Indian, Middle Eastern and African music, as well as such other numbers as "East of the Sun (and West of the Moon)," Wayne Shorter's "Indian Song" and John Coltrane's "India." The performances, on which Redman alternates between tenor and soprano saxophones, bristle with melodic and rhythmic surprise at every impassioned turn in the trail. He also locks horns with guest saxophonists Joe Lovano, Chris Cheek and Dewey Redman on one track apiece. Joshua steps aside on the closing selection, Dewey's simultaneously serene and incendiary "GJ," putting the spotlight on his late dad for what would turn out to be his final recording.

Music Enitity Reference: 
Back East
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