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Joshua Redman's Back East: Four Stars

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  • July. 01, 2007
    Joshua Redman's Back East: Four Stars

    By Michael Jackson
    Down Beat

    Back East mirrors Way Out West, the classic Sonny Rollins trio album from 40 years ago. Including "I'm An Old Cowhand" and "Wagon Wheels" may raise the dander of diehard Rollins devotees, but Joshua Redman slyly revamps "Cowhand" with archly phrased parenthetical statements and drills into a questing improvisation, although the geriatric cattleman gets lost in the mix. Maybe Redman should recook the title here, also? "Wagon Wheels" features Reuben Rogers' bass. It's more apropos, with Redman on soprano, ironically offering Native American flavors in his solo.

    Perhaps some peacable Apaches had scoped out the wagon train. Later, when the soprano returns in a dance with fellow soprano Chris Cheek, it becomes difficult to separate them while the ghost of Steve Lacy circles the proceedings. Redman has always sought the most inspiring sparring partners. Here has has another superb interface with Joe Lovano on Wayne Shorter's "Indian Song." Redman's a capella intro to "East Of The Sun (And West Of The Moon)" is a microcosm of what distinguishes him - real nice feel wed to sound internal logic, no need to floor us with the ambitious head of the title track with its tricky meter and "26-2" type complexity.

    Discussion of the three stellar rhythm sections here could comprise a whole other review. But the last recorded appearance by Redman's father, Dewey Redman, cannot go without comment. "India" features father and son locking horns, Joshua deferring to Dewey by tacking the lower harmonies. Needless to say, it's a fascinating, all too brief foray, but then Dewey ends the session with a surprise dedication to his grandson. Does he opt for alto here to set his sound apart? Bassist Larry Grenadier seems unsure what to do intitially, and Redman's message seems so worldly, abstract, yearning and direct.

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on July 01, 2007

By Michael Jackson
Down Beat

Back East mirrors Way Out West, the classic Sonny Rollins trio album from 40 years ago. Including "I'm An Old Cowhand" and "Wagon Wheels" may raise the dander of diehard Rollins devotees, but Joshua Redman slyly revamps "Cowhand" with archly phrased parenthetical statements and drills into a questing improvisation, although the geriatric cattleman gets lost in the mix. Maybe Redman should recook the title here, also? "Wagon Wheels" features Reuben Rogers' bass. It's more apropos, with Redman on soprano, ironically offering Native American flavors in his solo.

Perhaps some peacable Apaches had scoped out the wagon train. Later, when the soprano returns in a dance with fellow soprano Chris Cheek, it becomes difficult to separate them while the ghost of Steve Lacy circles the proceedings. Redman has always sought the most inspiring sparring partners. Here has has another superb interface with Joe Lovano on Wayne Shorter's "Indian Song." Redman's a capella intro to "East Of The Sun (And West Of The Moon)" is a microcosm of what distinguishes him - real nice feel wed to sound internal logic, no need to floor us with the ambitious head of the title track with its tricky meter and "26-2" type complexity.

Discussion of the three stellar rhythm sections here could comprise a whole other review. But the last recorded appearance by Redman's father, Dewey Redman, cannot go without comment. "India" features father and son locking horns, Joshua deferring to Dewey by tacking the lower harmonies. Needless to say, it's a fascinating, all too brief foray, but then Dewey ends the session with a surprise dedication to his grandson. Does he opt for alto here to set his sound apart? Bassist Larry Grenadier seems unsure what to do intitially, and Redman's message seems so worldly, abstract, yearning and direct.

Music Enitity Reference: 
Back East
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