Joshua Redman Quartet | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Joshua Redman Quartet

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Two years ago, when Joshua Redman captured the top prize in a national competition for tenor players, many jazzbos figured they'd heard this number before. Redman had terrific technique, he showed undeniable respect for the jazz tradition, he was the son of a musician (Dewey Redman, the former sideman to Ornette Coleman and Keith Jarrett), and he wore a suit; you can see how easily he might have been cast in the Wyntonian mold. But Redman has already proven himself more flexible than most musicians in the post-Marsalis crowd. His second album, the recently released Wish (Warner Brothers), finds him in a quartet that includes the genre-bending guitarist Pat Metheny, and also shows how Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven" can peacefully coexist on an album with compositions by Charlie Parker and Charlie Haden. Redman's technical strengths--a sure command of the tenor's full range, a splendid rhythmic imagination, a warm, hard tone--strike you immediately. But they practically pale next to his musical maturity, which manifests itself in his economy of improvisational motion: even at his most heated, Redman never sounds like he's flailing or, for that matter, even scurrying. In baseball, young fastballers fall into two basic categories--those who just rear back and throw, and those who already know how to pitch to the corners. Without belaboring the analogy, Redman's arrival in Chicago during the World Series seems entirely appropriate. His quartet will include Metheny on guitars. Monday, 8:30 PM, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University, 1977 South Campus Dr., Evanston; 708-491-5441 or 559-1212.

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