Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

345

Joshua Redman: Compass

Doug Collette By

Sign in to view read count
Joshua Redman has made some fine albums in the past, including Timeless Tales (For Changing Times) (Warner Bros., 1998), Passage of Time (Warner Bros., 2001) and Spirit of the Moment Live (Warner Bros., 1995), but he's never recorded one with such clarity of purpose as the self-produced Compass. In keeping with the dual meaning of the title word (alternately a verb to accomplish as well as the noun as a tool of direction) the saxophonist leads two different trios into unfamiliar terrain with authority and aplomb.

The short, two-minute intro to the album is called "Uncharted," and its gentle crescendos sound like nothing so much as an invocation of the creative impulse. Not that Redman and his band mates hadn't already tendered a supplication to the Muse; aligning themselves in various combinations for the three sessions that produced the album stands as a collective act of courage and artistic self-confidence.

The music bristles with vigor throughout. Whether it's the leader plus drummer Brian Blade and bassist Larry Grenadier navigating the contours of "Faraway" or the three teaming with drummer Gregory Hutchinson and bassist Reuben Rogers on "Just Like You," with all involved instinctively dancing an instrumental ballet of sorts, these musicians pirouette around each other ever so gracefully, with nary a misstep on a melody line when not interlocking on a rhythmic phrase.

What's all the more remarkable about Compass is that, while it is Joshua Redman's twelfth recording as a leader (not counting his tenure at the forefront of SF Jazz Collective), it is just his second since returning from his foray into the land of electric groove with The Elastic Band. The preceding Back East (Nonesuch, 2007), showed more than a few signs of uncertainty, as Redman somewhat tentatively reacquainted himself with the textures of acoustic music and the dynamics of a three-piece lineup. This album, in contrast, betrays none of those qualities but rather a strength and certainty all around, centered in the gentle but forcefully wrought horn lines Redman proffers on "Moonlight," a variation of Beethoven's enduring Moonlight Sonata.

Even on lighter pieces such as the whimsically titled "Hutchhiker's Guide," or when he imbues his soprano horn lines with so much gusto on "Round Reuben," Redman sets the tone for the group. His staunch presence in the role of the bandleader is as crucial to the success of the individual tracks as to the end result of Compass in total.

What may be most impressive, however, is that by the time the original material has been traversed (mostly the saxophonist's, with one each from Grenadier and Blade), there's the palpable sense that the Redman has opened himself up to all manner of possibilities for future musical endeavors, proceeding directly from the cathartic self-renewal that is Compass.


Track Listing: Uncharted; Faraway; Identity Thief; Just Like You; Hutchhiker's Guide; Ghost; Insomnomaniac; Moonlight; Un Peu Fou; March; Round Reuben; Little Ditty; Through the Valley.

Personnel: Joshua Redman: saxophones; Larry Grenadier: bass; Reuben Rogers: bass: Brian Blade: drums: Gregory Hutchinson: drums.

Title: Compass | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Nonesuch Records

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Interviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Still Dreaming

Still Dreaming

Nonesuch Records
2018

buy
Nearness

Nearness

Nonesuch Records
2016

buy
The Bad Plus Joshua Redman

The Bad Plus Joshua...

Nonesuch Records
2015

buy
Trios Live

Trios Live

Nonesuch Records
2014

buy
Walking Shadows

Walking Shadows

Nonesuch Records
2013

buy
Compass

Compass

Nonesuch Records
2009

buy

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Mar31Sun
Joshua Redman Quartet With Aaron Goldberg, Reuben Rogers...
Sanders Theatre
Cambridge, MA
$58, 48, 37, 30
Apr2Tue
JOSHUA REDMAN QUARTET
Blue Note New York
New York, NY
$30.00
Apr2Tue
JOSHUA REDMAN QUARTET
Blue Note New York
New York, NY
$30.00
Apr3Wed
JOSHUA REDMAN QUARTET
Blue Note New York
New York, NY
$30.00
Apr3Wed
JOSHUA REDMAN QUARTET
Blue Note New York
New York, NY
$30.00
Apr4Thu
JOSHUA REDMAN QUARTET
Blue Note New York
New York, NY
$30.00
Apr4Thu
JOSHUA REDMAN QUARTET
Blue Note New York
New York, NY
$30.00

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Paint The Sky Album Reviews
Paint The Sky
By Andrew J. Sammut
February 21, 2019
Read God Is More Than Love Can Ever Be Album Reviews
God Is More Than Love Can Ever Be
By Karl Ackermann
February 21, 2019
Read Rhyme And Reason Album Reviews
Rhyme And Reason
By Mark Corroto
February 21, 2019
Read The Definition of Insanity Album Reviews
The Definition of Insanity
By Nicholas F. Mondello
February 21, 2019
Read Omhu Album Reviews
Omhu
By Jakob Baekgaard
February 21, 2019
Read In Between the Tumbling a Stillness Album Reviews
In Between the Tumbling a Stillness
By Karl Ackermann
February 20, 2019
Read Gary Album Reviews
Gary
By Dan McClenaghan
February 20, 2019