Music Review: Joshua Redman

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Joshua Redman


[Warner Brothers]

Jazz is shrouded by mythology about its intellectual inaccessibility. Listeners mustn't retain hundreds of bits of esoteric detritus to enjoy jazz. Jazz, predominantly, is an emotional art. The riffs created by its practitioners are mostly based on excesses of the heart rather than head. In his latest auditory excursion Elastic, Joshua Redman understands this and exceeds expectations.

The pieces composed swim with vitality and warmth, arranged very loosely around drummer Brian Blade's almost melodic drumming. Redman's own brand of playing, a straight-ahead style mixed with gentle coaxing, compliments Sam Yahel's soft, supporting peripheral keyboarding.

Elastic is not hard bebop jazz, or an amorphous introspective piece like Redman's previous album Beyond. This disc is somewhere in between, a coming-out of sorts for Redman. After the mountain of hype this man has deservedly received, we finally are able to hear his confirmation. His conversations with his trio are phenomenal. The interweaving of rhythms, sound so natural and so easy.

The first cut "Molten Soul" describes the overall musical tone of this disc. Take soul, in its raw variation, and simmer it until the edges smooth over. Then pour a syrupy smoky molasses over it until it no longer throbs but hums.

Kept for a bit; refined-that is how "Elastic" sounds. All the music has a soft hue haze surrounding it. The song "Can A Good Thing Last Forever," exemplifies that idea. It begins very simply, a churchy organ tapping out a few long notes. The musical description of living an event. Then it explodes into nostalgia, becoming brighter, louder, and more textured. Filled out. And Joshua answers his own question about the lamentable transitory nature of events... they can. And hopefully so will he.

Fernando Galeano


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