Saxophonist Joshua Redman kicked off the Tucson Jazz Festival with a performance at Centennial Hall on Jan. 13, presented by Arizona Arts Live.
Redman, the Grammy-nominated musicians, performed a set list of that included such compositions as “Streams of Consciousness,” “Third Wheel” and “The Mending.”
Redman’s free form jazz style of playing had audience members engaged the whole time with his improvisational runs, exciting chord progressions, and swing rhythms. Paul Cornish (piano), Spencer Hoefert (guitar), Jayla Chee (bass), and Nazir Ebo (drums) created an exciting accompaniment to the saxophone, each taking turns passing off fast virtuosic solos to one another and never missing a beat in between!
The concert ended with an encore of the band covering John Coltrane’s “Alabama” in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It is said that Coltrane modeled his saxophone playing in “Alabama” from the rhythms in Dr. King’s eulogy speech after the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1965.
Born in Berkeley, California, Redman is son of legendary saxophonist Dewey Redman and dancer Renee Shedroff. In 1991 Redman graduated from Harvard College summa cum laude and had already been accepted by Yale Law School, but deferred entrance for what he believed was only going to be one year. Instead, he moved to New York City and immediately found himself immersed in the city’s burgeoning jazz scene. Five months later Redman was named winner of the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition.
Redman’s collaborations include some of music’s most notable icons including The Dave Matthews Band, Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones, B.B. King, Yo Yo Ma, Brad Mehldau, The Rolling Stones, The Roots, and Stevie Wonder.
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