ALBUM of the WEEK Joshua Redman, Come What May, Nonesuch
It has been quite a while since this Joshua Redman Quartet configuration has issued an album, some 20 years or so in fact since Redman last teamed up with Aaron Goldberg, Reuben Rogers and Gregory Hutchinson in the easy mainstream space that Redman has virtually made his own over the years.
Full of bittersweet elegiac melody this lands if you like right in the middle stylistically of where jazz is these days, neither smooth nor full of extravagant avant garde gesture. Redman brings with him nonetheless an encyclopedia of saxophone prowess and in some ways nothing really has changed since we were introduced to him back in the 1990s.
Full of original tunes there is plenty here for newcomers to jazz and old hands alike. For sure one thing that Redman never forgets is how to shape a melody and draw on his emotional side and with this band manages to underline his key approach so convincingly once again.
Photo: Arne Reimer
Larry Grenadier embarks on a solo flight
It is not onlyJeff Ballardfrom the Brad Mehldau trio who will be striking out again in 2019 as a leader. The famous piano trio’s Larry Grenadierwill also be highly visible with The Gleaners, which is set for a mid-February post-Valentine day’s digital release first, which happens to fall shortly after Grenadier’s 53rd birthday, followed by CD and vinyl formats a week later.
A Manfred Eicher-produced studio album to be released by ECM which was recorded in New York in late-2016 will be that rarity: a bass solo album an endeavour few bassists have ever successfully traversed before.
The only two marlbank can think of are Peter Kowald’s 1995 free-jazz classic Was Da Ist and probably a little closer in outlook Eberhard Weber’s beautiful Pendulum again from the 1990s.
Grenadier, who we think is one of the world’s best jazz bassists and here is our list to make sense of the terrain, was “inspired by Agnès Varda’s film The Gleaners and I” according to ECM, and the album includes his so far unnamed originals, a dedication to Oscar Pettiford who remains a strong influence on another of the world’s great bassists, Christian McBride, plus George Gershwin, John Coltrane, Paul Motian, Rebecca Martin and Wolfgang Muthspiel material. On the Grenadier website there is a little more elaboration, the site author noting the presence of “a pair of works written especially for Grenadier by guitarist, longtime friend and fellow ECM artist Wolfgang Muthspiel” and an instrumental interpretation of a song by his wife the singer-songwriter Rebecca Martin. (Further reading, on a Muthspiel tack: a review of a record that Grenadier appeared on memorably, Driftwood.) Larry Grenadier photo: Wikipedia