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Redman / Mehldau / McBride / Blade: Long Gone

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Redman / Mehldau / McBride / Blade: Long Gone
The mid-1990s saw the first recorded and officially preserved union of four up-and-coming jazz newcomers—Joshua Redman (saxophone,) Christian McBride (bass,) Brad Mehldau (piano) and Brian Blade (drums.) All four were dedicated followers of classic jazz and came together, but soon scattered and began charting their own individual courses. There was a long delay before they reunited for a second quartet recording in 2020. By then, each and every one of them had earned the respect of their peers and risen to the highest level as jazz leaders and masters of their instrument. LongGone, mostly recorded in 2019 but released in 2022, is the next chapter in their collaboration.

Geographically, the musicians came from varied backgrounds and each one initially absorbed the sounds of their regional environment. Redman (born 1969) had become involved in the New York City jazz scene at the start of the 1990s and interacted with numerous musicians including McBride and Mehldau. Philadelphia born McBride (born 1972) has, by now, appeared on well over 300 albums and is doing his best to catch up with bassist Ron Carter, who has contributed to several thousand discs. Florida born Mehldau (born 1970) who, beyond his mid-1990s work with Redman/McBride/Blade and other jazz musicians, has worked with opera singers and with classical music as well as many jazz pros. In contrast, Mehldau's 2022 solo album focuses exclusively on music by the Beatles. The early musical education of Blade (born 1970) began in New Orleans. He not only immersed himself in the world of jazz but rock, Americana and more. All four musicians were quickly accepted by numerous jazz veterans plus each one has been recognized by Grammy nominations and/or awards.

As for LongGone, it is evident that years of off and on interaction with each other allows each member of the quartet to intuitively understand what the other artists will do and, more importantly, what they are likely thinking. Redman is the de facto leader if only by the fact that he authored all six cuts. Beyond that, it is a strong union of peers and equals. The quartet gets right down to work by opening the disc with the gently swinging title track. Redman's supple sax eases the listener into the piece, the others join in and, collectively, they confirm that classical jazz, with a modern pulse, is alive and well. Do not let the title of the second selection, "Disco Ears," scare you. Yeah, it is a bright, airy and free flowing track featuring Redman on soprano and Mehldau's lyrical piano but, luckily, this ain't no disco. That is followed by the pensive and serene "Statuesque." After a measured opening on the next cut, "Kite Song," Redman and company accelerate and pick up the pace a bit. To close out the disc, the quartet offers a blast from the past with a live, vintage selection from 2007 called "Rejoice." It is a looser, frantic and free form sound collage and brings the sessions in for a landing.

Track Listing

Long Gone: Disco Ears: Statuesque: Kite Song: Ship To Shore: Rejoice.

Personnel

Album information

Title: Long Gone | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Nonesuch Records


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