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Joshua Redman - Jazz Saxophonist

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Saxophonist Joshua Redman was born 1 February, 1969, in Berkeley, California, USA. His father is the famous saxophonist Dewey Redman, and his mother, Renee Shedroff, is a dancer and librarian.

Joshua started out with music training at the age of five when his mother enrolled him in Indonesian and Indian classes at the Centre for World Music. He started to play guitar and piano, but because of his father's influence he listened to such legends as Sonny Rollins, John Coltraine, Dexter Gordon, and at the age of ten he too choose the saxophone as his instrument.

During his time in Harvard, Joshua played in the school jazz band, though his playing experiences were limited to a few gigs with Delfeayo Marsalis. His influences at the time were McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, Elvin Jones, Wayne Shorter, Charlie Parker and Ornette Coleman.

Redman graduated Summa Cum Laude which means with the greatest honour and Phi Beta Kappa1 in 1991 and was accepted to Yale Law School.


In June 1991, he moved to Brooklyn. For the first time Joshua had the opportunity to practice regularly, playing in jam sessions and living close to New York's creative jazz scene. It was also in the summer of 1991 that he wrote his first composition, 'Sublimation'.

He still wanted to go to Yale, but then, in late November, he won first prize in the Theleonius Monk Institute of Jazz Saxophone Competition. This definitely changed all his plans, and he decided to choose jazz as a way of life. According to legendary jazz guitarist Pat Metheny, Joshua Redman was 'the most important new musician in 20 years'.

Since then, Redman has performed and/or recorded with Dave Brubeck, Chick Corea, Charlie Hayden, BB King, Pat Metheny, Jack DeJohnette and Ray Hargrove, among many others. He also appeared as a featured musician in Robert Altmann's jazz movie Kansas City, where he portrayed Lester Young.

Redman won numerous Down Beat, Jazziz and Rolling Stone readers' polls and was a Grammy2 1994 nominee.

The Music

Over the years, Joshua Redman has gone through many changes of style and tone. At first he was quite conservative in sound, progressing to a more melodic approach. You can hear the inspiration from tracks of Lester Young, whose lyrical legacy Redman particularly admired, as well a hints of John Coltraine and Sonny Rollins.

Redman plays soprano, alto and tenor sax, and is also a powerful stage personality. His play is very expressive and emotional and his sound is heartfelt but silky smooth. His music is close to the mainstream, but contains elements of rhythm and blues, soul, rock, hip-hop and funk, fused into his own authentic style.

One thing I've discovered about myself is that I'm eclectic - as a person and as a musician.
- Joshua Redman

Music by Joshua Redman

  • Wish (1993) - Pat Metheny on guitar, Charlie Hayden on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums.

  • Joshua Redman (1993)

  • MoodSwing (1994) - This is the first album with all original Redman compositions. Brad Mehldau plays piano, Christian McBride bass, and Brian Blade drums.

  • Spirit of the Moment - Live at the Village Vanguard (1995) - This, his first live album, was with Peter Martin (piano), Christopher Thomas (bass), and Brian Blade (drums).

  • Freedom in the Groove (1996) - This features Peter Bernstein (guitar), Peter Martin (piano), Christopher Thomas (bass), and Brian Blade (drums).

  • Timeless Tales (for changing times) (1998) - This album has standards from Gershwin, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Cole Porter and others. With Brad Mehldau (piano), Larry Grenadier (bass), Brian Blade (drums).

  • Beyond (2000) - This album features Aaron Goldberg (piano), Reuben Rogers (bass), Gregory Hutchinson (drums).

1An honorary student society/award, founded in 1776, whose members are chosen because of their academic excellence.2One of the music industry's most prestigious awards.

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