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Inspired trio sound

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  • June. 07, 2007
    Inspired trio sound

    By Beth Peerless
    Monterey County Herald

    The Joshua Redman Trio played to a full house at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center's early show Monday. The Berkeley-born and raised saxophonist is in the early stages of a tour to support the recent Nonesuch Records release "Back East," his 11th recording as a leader. With him were bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland.

    The esteemed small ensemble worked together as equals, giving the audience its all with a set consisting primarily of songs from the new album. It's fairly rare to have a saxophonist play in a trio setting, as it is fraught with danger due to the openness of the arrangements. Without a piano or guitar to provide chordal harmonic structure, the melodic linear quality of the saxophone has a lot of space to fill.

    The trio was up to the challenge, and the audience enjoyed the interesting conversational style, punctuated by sharp angular transitions and varied dynamics. While Redman is the marquee name on the group, each artist had ample time in the spotlight. At times it seemed that Harland was the bandleader because of his prominence in the mix, yet without his varied and musical approach to the drums, I doubt the performance would have held up as well as it did. Redman and Harland played off each other ferociously, especially on the album's title track "Back East," where they took the music to a fever pitch with clearly enunciated ideas. Bassist Rogers showed a lot of class as usual on the bandstand, able to maintain a strong, supportive role while the other two blazed, and then step up and solo with articulate and inventive ideas.

    Several of the songs featured solo saxophone lead-ins, with Redman interchanging his usual tenor playing with the soprano saxophone on his composition "Zarafah." Its Eastern-sounding motifs were lifted by the expressive slow rhythms Harland provided. He accented the intro with shimmering percussive bells that gave the song a mystic quality. Redman's beautifully expressive rendering of the minor blues pop song "Angel Eyes" captured some of the smoky, thick warm tones of, say, Dexter Gordon, or maybe Sonny Rollins, who, as it turns out, is admittedly Redman's biggest influence.

    It was evident not only for this song, but for the concept of the album and the trio setting. The 1957 Rollins trio recording "Way Out West" fired up Redman's imagination, and inspired him to revisit not only the group dynamic, but to rework some of the songs from that recording.

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on June 07, 2007

By Beth Peerless
Monterey County Herald

The Joshua Redman Trio played to a full house at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center's early show Monday. The Berkeley-born and raised saxophonist is in the early stages of a tour to support the recent Nonesuch Records release "Back East," his 11th recording as a leader. With him were bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland.

The esteemed small ensemble worked together as equals, giving the audience its all with a set consisting primarily of songs from the new album. It's fairly rare to have a saxophonist play in a trio setting, as it is fraught with danger due to the openness of the arrangements. Without a piano or guitar to provide chordal harmonic structure, the melodic linear quality of the saxophone has a lot of space to fill.

The trio was up to the challenge, and the audience enjoyed the interesting conversational style, punctuated by sharp angular transitions and varied dynamics. While Redman is the marquee name on the group, each artist had ample time in the spotlight. At times it seemed that Harland was the bandleader because of his prominence in the mix, yet without his varied and musical approach to the drums, I doubt the performance would have held up as well as it did. Redman and Harland played off each other ferociously, especially on the album's title track "Back East," where they took the music to a fever pitch with clearly enunciated ideas. Bassist Rogers showed a lot of class as usual on the bandstand, able to maintain a strong, supportive role while the other two blazed, and then step up and solo with articulate and inventive ideas.

Several of the songs featured solo saxophone lead-ins, with Redman interchanging his usual tenor playing with the soprano saxophone on his composition "Zarafah." Its Eastern-sounding motifs were lifted by the expressive slow rhythms Harland provided. He accented the intro with shimmering percussive bells that gave the song a mystic quality. Redman's beautifully expressive rendering of the minor blues pop song "Angel Eyes" captured some of the smoky, thick warm tones of, say, Dexter Gordon, or maybe Sonny Rollins, who, as it turns out, is admittedly Redman's biggest influence.

It was evident not only for this song, but for the concept of the album and the trio setting. The 1957 Rollins trio recording "Way Out West" fired up Redman's imagination, and inspired him to revisit not only the group dynamic, but to rework some of the songs from that recording.

Music Enitity Reference: 
Back East
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