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INTERVIEW Joshua Redman on James Farm

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Wednesday June 23, 2010

from The Toronto Star

Joshua Redman performs with new band at Toronto Jazz Festival
by Ashante Infantry

Since graduating from Harvard in 1991, turning down Yale Law School and winning the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition that same year, Joshua Redman has been acclaimed as one of the most talented horn players of his generation. With 11 albums to his name, the California tenor — son of late legendary saxman Dewey Redman — is a popular headliner, so it’s surprising to find him downplaying his brand as part of the leaderless James Farm, which makes its Toronto debut at Enwave Theatre on Wednesday for the TD Toronto Jazz Festival.

The group includes pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Matt Penman and drummer Eric Harland (Ari Hoenig will sub in Toronto), all 10-15 years younger than the 41-year-old Redman.

The Star spoke with the saxophonist by phone from his Berkley, Calif., home.

Q What’s the impetus to be part of a collective like James Farm when you can draw sellout crowds on your own?

A I’ve been incredibly fortunate that I’ve been able to have what’s ended up being a relatively successful career in jazz, but never have I gone about my life or my work as a jazz musician trying to build a career for myself as an individual. I’ve tried to make choices which are based on what is inspiring me musically, what’s challenging me musically at a particular time. I really felt like there was an opportunity to do something a little bit different and a little bit special with this band, particularly because of the strength of the musical personalities and also because the strength of everyone, not just as individual improvisers, but as composers and musicians who also had a vision for being part of a band and for helping to organize a band.

Read the entire interview here