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
David Torn, Tim Berne, Ches Smith, Sun of Goldfinger, ECM ***1/2
Pretty unradio-friendly given the length of the tracks, each of the three clocks in at more than 20 minutes, the middle piece ‘Spartan Before It Hit’ ups the core trio ante by adding strings, the piano of Craig Taborn, and extra guitars. This is deftly exploratory improvising, Torn and Berne dancing around airy, tense fragments that summon a certain menace and this album overall has plenty of severity about it, an open feeling too thanks often to the way rhythm is sub divided or just shrinks back, and a sense that the trio are playing without any safety net. While easy to admire it is harder to fully embrace, yes the pieces are too long and there is a good deal of development that does not necessarily deliver the impact that this trio is capable of. The middle piece with the extra players is where the album really comes alive so go there first. SG