In recent years Joshua Redman has favoured the freedom and exposure in equal measure that the simple saxophone/bass/drums trio format gives him, certainly when playing live. Now he gives us the chance to enjoy the excitement of those gigs in the privacy of our own sound systems.
Drummer Gregory Hutchinson is there throughout with the bassist being Matt Penman for tracks recorded at the Jazz Standard in New York and Reuben Rogers for those from Blues Alley in Washington.
It was with Hutchinson and Rogers that we last heard his trio live in Birmingham, at the Adrian Boult Hall in 2007, and here, as then, the opening tune is Mack The Knife. Other familiar themes are Never Let Me Go and Monk’s Trinkle Tinkle. There are some Redman originals and the closer is Led Zeppelin’s The Ocean.
What is a constant pleasure throughout is the absolute assurance of Redman’s playing – he is on tenor for all but two tunes where he switches to soprano – with a rich variation of tones, some jaw-dropping flips into blisteringly fast runs, a deep sense of swing and, of course, extensive use of the full range of the instrument, from gruff lows to sweet highs.
The trio interplay is impeccable and Rogers, Hutchinson and Penman get some solo space but this trio is substantially a saxophone-driven vehicle. And it could be a rather exhaustingly driven one, too, were it not for the inclusion of such breathers as the ballad Never Let Me Go and Redman’s own Soul Dance through which he trips lightly and spaciously on soprano. Still, we can hardly criticise the man for letting us in on this much excitement.
Redman dedicates the album to his live audiences: “This album is dedicated to all those folks, all around the world, of all ages, identities, allegiances, and persuasions, who come out, day to day, night after night, to see and hear live jazz. You bear witness to this music; you testify to that moment. You are here. You were there. You made it possible, You make it real. You are the reason. You were the point.”
- To buy Joshua Redman’s Trios Live go here.
Categories: CD review