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Joshua Redman's Walking Shadows "Is a Great Work of Art"

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Monday July 01, 2013

From All About Jazz

Joshua Redman: Walking Shadows (2013)
By: Nenad Georgievski

Saxophonist Joshua Redman combines some really attractive virtues: deep jazz knowledge and formidable technique on his instrument. Combine this with a balanced but slightly assertive style that is a prime example of fluency and inventiveness, and you have a musician of such intelligence and energy, who is so adaptable, that he easily finds a way to make himself at home in any given musical surrounding. As such, Redman is perfectly suited to performing with large ensembles.

The orchestrations on Walking Shadows are gorgeously rendered landscapes against which Redman and his quartet play.. Produced by one-time Redman sideman, pianist Brad Mehldau, Walking Shadows assembles a gentle, sultry, and extremely elegant collection of ballads with a wide array of choices. Redman has always possessed such a profound grasp of the tradition and, on top of that, a profound ability to reshape it. This riveting collection cherishes timeless tunes like “The Folks Who Live on The Hill” and “Lush Life,” but it also indicates a broader taste, like The Beatles’ classic “Let It Be,” John Mayer’s “Stop This Train,” and Bach’s “Adagio.” The epic arrangements provided by Mehldau, Patrick Zimmerli and conductor Dan Coleman bring a cinematic quality to the album’s treatment of these classics, which breathe and swell as they cajole and interact with Redman’s affable sax.

Bach’s mournful composition sounds like a late night conversation between saxophone and bass, with drummer Brian Blade’s unobtrusive brushes adding a sense of drama without breaking stride or upsetting the tune’snocturnal balance. “Easy Living” and Wayne Shorter’s “Infant Eyes,” with their colorful and lush arrangements, sound like a film soundtrack, with sensuously swaying sax lines that give the overall album an old- time flavor. Redman’s original, “Final Hour,” is a sad lament, supported by Mehldau’s minimalistic piano, balancing the leader’s brooding melodies.

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