LIVE: The Bad Plus Joshua Redman @ Zankel Music Center, 10/23/15

November 12th, 2015, 3:00 pm by Greg
The Bad Plus Joshua Redman

The Bad Plus Joshua Redman

Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu

The stage set at the Zankel Music Center for tenor master Joshua Redman and jazz provocateurs The Bad Plus (aka The Bad Plus Joshua Redman) was pretty bare-bones: drums, stand-up bass, piano, a tall stool and big mic for Redman… and a mahogany lectern with a simple green-and-gold “Skidmore College” banner hanging from the top of the dais. Did this show come with a lecture? Was this going to be on the Final? As it happened, the podium hadn’t been left out after an afternoon symposium. Skidmore President Dr. Philip A. Glotzbach used it to welcome the SRO crowd to the fifth anniversary celebration of the opening of Zankel Music Center.

Honestly, I was shocked; aside from the fact that I hadn’t known this was a special night, it seems like Zankel has been around forever, even though I was there opening night when Redman and piano icon Brad Mehldau christened the stage with an amazing set of mind-blowing duets. The Bad Plus also played Zankel during that opening season, though I missed that show. Now, these two major forces were back here, together, and thanks to the Zankel NOT being the Corning Preserve, we were able to hear every riveting syllable of the new musical language they have created.

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Five Reasons to See The Bad Plus Joshua Redman @ Alive at Five Today

June 11th, 2015, 12:00 pm by Greg


Story by J Hunter
Drawing by Charles H. Haymes

At this time of year, you usually only see second-generation tenor man Joshua Redman and the infamous acoustic trio The Bad Plus at places like Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival, where the price of a 1-day lawn pass is $60 and inside seats go for $85 a pop – and that’s before you throw down for whatever expensive-but-worth-it drinks and vittles are for sale. Alive at Five is a free show. Do the math.

This dizzying pairing is like one of those one-off comic books where superheroes you normally never see together – Superman and Spider-Man, for instance – have a hellacious fight before joining forces and defeating some amorphous super-villain. This show pairs an artist and a band that have cut separate (but equally brilliant) swathes through the jazz world over the last 20 years. The only villains on hand at Jennings Landing will be heat and humidity, and we’ll all be fighting them.

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LIVE: The Joshua Redman Quartet @ The Egg, 11/7/13

November 14th, 2013, 3:00 pm by Greg

Review by J Hunter

Joshua Redman’s played The Egg’s Swyer Theatre quite a bit over the years, both with his own bands and with the jazz supergroup James Farm. “This one of my favorite places to play,” Redman told us after breaking off a fast, nasty take on George Gershwin’s “Summertime” in concert last week. He added with a smile, “I only hate the big theater because I can’t fill the big theater!” Later in the show, he amended his take on the Hart Theatre. “Hate is a very strong word… That’s what I tell my seven-year old. ‘I hate eggplant!’ ‘No, no, you just hate the way DADDY makes eggplant.’ Let’s call it ‘envy’…”

It’s interesting to see the father in Redman, which we also saw in his post-tune description of the wild off-time rollercoaster “D.G.A.F.” He got big laughs when he confided, “That’s a tune I wish I HADN’T written…” The careening original would be a hefty job for any player, but that wasn’t the interesting part: The interesting part was when Redman refused to expand on what the title’s acronym stood for (not that it’s much of a guess), and then quickly corrected his language as he spoke about “when we play the shit out of it… I mean, the STUFF out of it!” Apparently, Redman does not subscribe to George Carlin’s satirical take on parents swearing in front of their children. (“Don’t say that, Johnny! Just hear it!”)

Maturity wears well on Redman. For instance, he wouldn’t have chosen to take on Great American Songbook pieces like “Summertime” and Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life” in the past, preferring to stick with his own compositions. That moratorium ended after his time as Artistic Director of the interpretive powerhouse SFJAZZ Collective, which made him way more comfortable doing other people’s stuff. “Summertime” was definitely not the hot, lazy blues Gershwin wrote for “Porgy & Bess,” and Strayhorn’s protagonist in “Lush Life” is downright unapologetic in Redman’s funk-tinged take, only returning to the original version’s saloon-song vibe where the protagonist declares, “I’ll live a lush life in some small dive…”

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LIVE: Joshua Redman-Brad Mehldau Duo @ Zankel Music Center, 4/16/10

April 19th, 2010, 11:55 am by Greg

The last time that I saw saxman Joshua Redman and pianist Brad Mehldau play together was a dozen years ago at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. Redman and his quartet – bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Brian Blade (and later Greg Hutchinson), as well as Mehldau – were in town for several weeks of open rehearsals, as well as a performance. And it was mindboggling.

Both musicians have grown considerably in the ensuing years, and their duo performance at Skidmore College’s brand new Zankel Music Center was a testament to the fact that they are both now among the most influential jazz musicians of their generation.

And to watch (and hear) them play in a duo setting in the intimate theater was a wonder to behold. Their concentration level was so high, their playing so telepathic that it was almost as though you could see the gears moving in their brains, as each reacted to what the other was playing.

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Joshua Redman, What Was the First Album You Ever Bought?

April 13th, 2010, 12:22 pm by Greg

Joshua Redman

Joshua Redman (photo by Michael Wilson)

“Hmmmm… The first record that I actually went out and bought? That’s a tough one because I had lots of records long before I actually ever bought a record.

Ummm… It might have been a Prince record, ‘Dirty Mind.’ Or it could have been a Stevie Wonder album. Maybe it was a Beatles record and maybe it was a Police record.

I was listening to jazz back then, too. I remember checking out of the music library with a copy of Sonny Rollins’ ‘Saxophone Colossus,’ which was an incredibly influential record for me.

But the first record that I bought probably wasn’t a jazz album.”

Saxophonist Joshua Redman teams up with pianist Brad Mehldau at Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center in Saratoga Springs at 8pm on Friday. Tix are $12; seniors $10.

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