Freddie Redd

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COMPOSERS: Freddie Redd
LABELS: Steeple Chase Music
ALBUM TITLE: Music For You
PERFORMER: Freddie Redd (piano), Jay Anderson (bass), Billy Drummond (drums)
CATALOGUE NO: SCCD 31796

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Probably still best-known for the score to Jack Gelber’s hit play The Connection a half-century ago, Redd had not made a record for some 30 years until this session, cut in November 2014 when he was 85. He was never a particularly muscular player, but what he might now lack in robustness is compensated for bya warm, unpretentious elegance.

Apart from his own piece, ‘Blues for You’, all the tracks here are tunes that have been recorded many thousands of times, yet he, Anderson and Drummond approach them with a freshness and curiosity that draws you in even before the theme-statements have finished. They take these over-familiar songs, hold them up to the light and point out new views. Instead of hurtling slickly through the themes en route for the improvisations, Redd gives the impression of discovering the phrases of the compositions for himself, and this is very beguiling.

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Barry Witherden