As the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra once again took up the challenge of John Coltrane's oeuvre on Friday night, October 26, 2012, it was the musicians' arranging skills that provided the sparkle for a memorable concert. In recent years, director/trumpeter Wynton Marsalis
has sought to extrapolate the writing talent from his band of merry musicians which has already improvised its way into the jazz hall of fame. The result has unleashed a cornucopia of delicious arrangements that continue to supply layers of cream to the musical cake and establish new standards of achievement for the LCJO.
Redman's playing was remarkable. He precisely articulated Coltrane's eastern scales and modal colors with a thrilling freshness and vibrancy that transcended the original. The sheer thoughtfulness of his improvisations was uniquely powerful. Concluding "India," Redman installed a compelling cadenza, which cleverly segued into the rapid- fire head of Blandings' arrangement of "Giant Steps." Here, the LCJO paraded its version of the 3 Tenors, as Blandings, and Victor Goines
's arrangement of "Mr. Day" and Nash's arrangement of "My Favorite Things" were other highlights of an evening which celebrated the orchestrating talent of writing jazz musician as few concerts ever have.