Wednesday August 20, 2014
From The Detroit Free Press
Saxophonist Joshua Redman on the issues that face jazz musicians
By: Mark Stryker
Tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman has been a star since he burst onto the jazz scene in his early 20s, winning the Thelonious Monk competition in 1991 and launching his prolific recording career in 1993. At 45, he remains a charismatic musician with broad stylistic interests, but with a blues sensibility and a fundamental allegiance to mainstream values of swing.
Local audiences will get a big dose of Redman’s talents at the 35th annual Detroit Jazz Festival, which opens Friday and runs through Labor Day in downtown Detroit. As the festival’s artist-in-residence, Redman will perform three times — teaming with the power trio the Bad Plus on opening night, leading his own animated quartet and folded into an ambitious large ensemble program for big band and choir in repertoire inspired by the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.
Redman — who only decided to become a musician after graduating summa cum laude from Harvard and deferring entrance to Yale Law School — is an especially thoughtful and articulate observer of the scene, and he spent 45 minutes last week talking about some of the issues facing contemporary jazz musicians. The conversation started from this premise: Where jazz was once far more connected to mainstream culture, the music has largely disappeared from television and general-interest media, losing its historical identity as a hip and even glamorous subculture.
To read the interview click here