Joshua Redman: Walking Shadows

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Joshua Redman
LABELS: Nonesuch
ALBUM TITLE: Joshua Redman: Walking Shadows
WORKS: Walking Shadows
PERFORMER: Joshua Redman (sax), Brad Mehldau (piano, Larry Grenadier (bass), Brian Blade (drums), plus orchestral pieces conducted by Dan Coleman
CATALOGUE NO: 7559796093

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Exactly 20 years after releasing his first album, saxist Joshua Redman has fulfilled a long held ambition – making a ballads record with strings. And what a record. Too many jazz players answer the siren call of the string section and come away with arrangements that are cloying. With Brad Mehldau – author of his own orchestral album Highway Rider – as musical director that was never going to happen. Indeed, Walking Shadows has a similar panoramic sweep to Mehldau’s recent opus, its mix of original tunes and unusual ‘standards’ borne up and over the strings by Redman’s horn. Across a dozen albums, this player – whose late father was the free jazz saxist Dewey Redman – has shown he is at home in almost any setting, from groove-based crossover to complex modern jazz. It turns out that a combination of exquisite tone and emotive phrasing makes Redman a big picture ballads player too.

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Garry Booth