Joshua Redman, Still Dreaming

by Sylvannia Garutch

Joshua Redman has a new album out entitled Still Dreaming a welcomed addition to the jazz fabric, especially in the saxophone idiom of jazz. Joined by drummer Brian Blade, bassist Scott Colley, and cornetist Ron Miles, the album is inspired by his father Dewey Redman’s (1976–1987) band, Old and New Dreams, which featured the senior Redman, Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, Charlie Haden, and Ed Blackwell. Similarly, Still Dreaming pushes musical boundaries and is a cutting-edge sound, featuring six new compositions by the new band as well as one tune by Haden and one from Coleman.

“New Year,” begins the recording with an exuberant sound that features vibrant hits and an elastic head. Blade fills the spaces between the horns and bass lines with a musical tapestry of drum colors. The band shifts into high gear for a fast interlude and then back to the melody. After the melody, the band settles in to a nice medium swing tempo that allows Redman to snake his way around the harmonies. His lines have just the right amount of bebop, but enough modern vocabulary to resound with the jazz of today. Miles cornet is warm and focused, he develops his ideas in melodic statements and swings. Blade and Colley trade phrases in a joyous celebration of rhythm section ecstasy. This tune shows the positive aspects of the evolution of strong, melodic-modern jazz.

“Playing,” features a cornucopia of tensioned improvisation that each player feeds upon with fervor. Starting with a free conversation in rubato time, the band develops into a up-tempo selection that has structure and a form while still keeping the free conversation going. The conversation between Redman and Miles is especially thrilling and builds to nice climax and ending.

Redman is one of the most versatile and mutable players on the scene today. His discography is an edict to his mastery of the jazz idiom and beyond.  Joined by some of the best and brightest in the industry today Still Dreaming is a testament to his father’s legacy, but further than that, a link to his own birthright in the making.

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