Joshua Redman: Elastic

C. Andrew Hovan By

Sign in to view read count
There's no doubt that Joshua Redman is well on his way to defining a singular voice. But the critical response to Redman's art has often been mixed, the irony being in the fact that his original material is quite distinctive, yet possibly just a bit too glossy to satisfy those 'dyed in the wool' types. Elastic will do nothing to attract those looking for more lofty aspirations, for it is hook laden and funky to the max. Those who rush to claim this a snore fest or yet another organ record however will unfortunately miss an immediately likable disc and one that does offer a new perspective on Redman's current muse.

His first decidedly funk-based album since the 1996 set Freedom in the Groove, Redman goes for a wider sonic pallet on Elastic. Updating the organ trio format, Redman's partners include Sam Yahel and the ubiquitous Brian Blade on drums, the trio garnering an even bigger sound on some cuts through the sagacious use of overdubbed parts and harmony lines. Of a different cloth than the previously released Yaya3, which featured the same trio but was clearly more of Yahel's record, Elastic goes for a layered effect and some tricky polyrhythms, such as the offbeat syncopation that propels 'Jazz Crimes.'

The disc kicks off with 'Molten Soul,' a firm backbeat supporting a cheery line that gains body through the overdubbing of some saxophone harmonies. A great follow up, the previously mentioned 'Jazz Crimes' is like pure bebop, but with a funky James Brown twist. These two tracks alone set things off to an auspicious start. Going for a more relaxed atmosphere, a ballad mood sends 'Can a Good Thing Last Forever?' on its way via Yahel on piano and Redman on tenor, yet both men plug in further down the line, the saxophonist's electronics injected sparingly and with much finesse.

While Yahel uses the organ as his primary instrument, he freely mixes in other electronic timbres and blends them like a great alchemist. He gives 'Still Pushin' That Rock' some period flavor by comping on the Fender Rhodes and soloing on what sounds like a vintage Moog. Blade's role here in no less important, the drummer sounding almost as if he's in perpetual motion throughout, while contributing a few choice solos such as his complex interactions at the tail end of 'News From the Front.'

Although an audience's reaction to any artistic endeavor is ultimately personal, some pieces seem to speak with great fluency and attraction and others are more difficult to decipher. Redman's work here not only speaks with clarity but it also rewards repeated exposure. Any disc that keeps finding itself in my player, when so many don't merit much past two or three spins, recommends itself and Elastic does just that.

Visit our Joshua Redman Artist Profile .

Track Listing: Molten Soul, Jazz Crimes, The Long Way Home, Oumou, Still Pushin' That Rock, Can a Good Thing Last Forever?, Boogielastic, Unknowing, News From the Front, Letting Go, The Birthday Song

Personnel: Joshua Redman (saxophones), Sam Yahel (keyboards), Brian Blade (drums)

Title: Elastic | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Warner Bros.


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Shadow Work CD/LP/Track Review Shadow Work
by Phil Barnes
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Veterans of Jazz CD/LP/Track Review Veterans of Jazz
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Ariel CD/LP/Track Review Ariel
by Paul Rauch
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Fukushima CD/LP/Track Review Fukushima
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Dedication CD/LP/Track Review Dedication
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 21, 2017
Read Surface of Inscription CD/LP/Track Review Surface of Inscription
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 21, 2017
Read "Volume 5" CD/LP/Track Review Volume 5
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 14, 2017
Read "Nature City" CD/LP/Track Review Nature City
by Henning Bolte
Published: March 23, 2017
Read "Blues I Felt" CD/LP/Track Review Blues I Felt
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 15, 2017
Read "Tomeka Reid Quartet" CD/LP/Track Review Tomeka Reid Quartet
by Patrick Burnette
Published: September 28, 2017
Read "Nessuno" CD/LP/Track Review Nessuno
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 30, 2016
Read "2-Man Jazz Band" CD/LP/Track Review 2-Man Jazz Band
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 27, 2016

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Please support out sponsor