September 6, 2006


Dewey Redman, 75, Jazz Saxophonist, Dies (BEN RATLIFF, 9/06, 06, NY Times)

Dewey Redman, an expansive and poetic tenor saxophonist and bandleader who had been at the aesthetic frontiers of jazz since the 1960’s, died on Saturday in Brooklyn. He was 75 and lived in Brooklyn. [...]

Typical of late-1950’s jazz tenor saxophone players, Mr. Redman was informed by the sound and style of Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins. But he didn’t immerse himself in technique and harmonic theory, as those musicians did, or lead a band until his mid-30’s. Until then, he said, he was largely playing by ear.

Consequently his playing always kept a rawness, a willingness to play outside tonality, a closeness to the blues and above all a powerful sound: an expressive, dark-toned, vocalized expression that he could apply in any situation. (This power could also come through his second instrument — he played a double-reed instrument he called a musette.) He has often been called a free-jazz musician, and he could indeed put a logic and personality into music that had no chord changes. But that designation doesn’t acknowledge how authoritatively Mr. Redman could play a traditional ballad like “The Very Thought of You,” or how his solos could become dramatic diversions in someone else’s written music, as in parts of Tom Harrell’s 1998 album “The Art of Rhythm.”


From the mid-60’s on, Mr. Redman often led his own bands, usually quartets with piano, bass and drums; he recorded twice with his son Joshua Redman, the popular jazz saxophonist. Most recently his band included the pianist Frank Kimbrough, the bassist John Menegon and the drummer Matt Wilson. He played his final concert on Aug. 27 at the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival in Tompkins Square Park on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

-Dewey Redman (Wikipedia)
-Dewey Redman: The Sound of a Giant (R.J. DeLuke, December 15, 2003, All About Jazz)
-INTERVIEW: The Jazzine - The Interview with Dewey Redman
-Dewey Redman (Impulse)
-Dewey Redman (Europe Jazz Network)

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 6, 2006 8:37 AM

I had the pleasure of hearing Mr. Redman play in person on 5 or 6 occasions, and it was always a treat. His typical set featured 2 or 3 "out" pieces, which had him playing tenor and all manner of percussion instruments, whistles, etc. But each set also would have one ballad, often "A Nightinggale Sang in Berekeley Square," which he always imbued with amazing warmth and humor. R.I.P.

Posted by: Foos at September 6, 2006 3:33 PM

The son's not bad either. And I like the fact that young Joshua turned down a place at Yale law to play jazz instead.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at September 6, 2006 9:51 PM