The Kimmel Center's year-long celebration of the sax stays in full swing November 3rd with Branford Marsalis and Joshua Redman, two of the finest reed men in the country.
Joshua Redman is something of the "golden boy" of jazz. A straight-A Berkley high school student where he graduated valedictorian, Harvard University Suma Cum Laude graduate, elected to Phil Beta Kappa, he was accepted at Yale Law School after first planning to become a doctor. Boston jam sessions, working with his dad, noted saxophonist Dewey Redman, at New York's Village Vanguard and later full time in New York brought him completely into the world of jazz. He won the 1991 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, numerous jazz polls and was featured in the film, Kansas City. He recorded with The Mingus Dynasty, Elvin Jones, Pat Metheny and Roy Hargrove. He was voted Best New Artist in 1992 Jazz Times Reader's Poll. The New York Times said, "There is only a handful of naturally gifted musicians and Joshua's one of them. Every time you hear him, he's at a higher level."
Often compared with jazz great John Coltrane, Redmond also acknowledges the status of Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young: "two of the greatest tenor sax men of all time. You can trace the jazz history of the sax back to those two, but I am probably more influenced by Sonny Rollins." (who played Kimmel last Friday).
Redmond explained his jazz journey to Metro, "I grew up listening to Rock, R&B, Hip Hop, but it's not important where music came from, but for what musical statement I can make with it." His latest release, "Elastic," is a combination of sax and electric keyboard. He noted his Kimmel show will be an acoustic trio and that he is looking forward to playing here again, particularly with Marsalis, "one of the best working bands in jazz, a true jazz improviser."
Branford Marsalis, a 43-year-old, Grammy winning jazz composer-musician-icon said his just-released CD, Eternal, was "aiming for what Billie Holiday could do, which was to get to the emotions of each song." This recording produced by his record company, Marsalis Music Label, features such now seldomheard standards as "Gloomy Sunday" and "Dinner for One Please, James." with contributions from each in his quartet . The top notch quartet will be featured at Kimmel as certainly will some of the numbers . The group includes: Joey Calderazzo, piano; Eric Reveis, bass; Jeff "Tain" Watts, drums and Marsalis, sax and reeds. Marsalis noted he calls his company "Marsalis Music" not "Marsalis Jazz" to give all artists a chance to express themselves.
Marsalis was born into the famed family from New Orleans that includes his father, pianist-composer, Ellis; and his three brothers: Wynton, trumpet; Delfeayo, trombone and Jason, drums. They are something of an American jazz royal family. The November 18th NEWSWEEK featured his brother, Wynton, in its story on the new jazz center at Lincoln Center. Kimmel Center, Verizon Hall, Broad & Spruce Streets, 215-893-1999, November 3, 8 p.m., $40-$70, Joshua Redman Trio and Branford Marsalis Quartet.