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Jazz lost one of its giants when the great Dewey Redman passed away on September 2. The tenor saxophonist was a man of enormous vitality and soul, and his presence will be sorely missed. Fortunately technology's magic includes the ability to keep music alive, and Redman can always be heard on a myriad of released and hopefully soon-to-be released CDs.
Open Spaces is compried of three improvised songs culled from a series of 1999 concerts in Quebec City, featuring Redman, Francois Carrier (alto saxophone), Michel Donato and Ron Sequin (bass) and Michel Lambert (drums). The song titles"Going Through," "Open Spaces," "With the Flow"convey the spirit of the music and its feeling of spacious fluidity. The twenty-minute "Going Through," a loose, colorful song with a joyful spirit, starts off the CD. The two saxophones interweave beautifully and the length of the song allows each horn player the opportunity to stretch out. Redman is at his melodic best, combining snippets of old New Orleans with an absolutely modern improvisational sensibility.
"Open Spaces" has a funky, playful melody and conveys a unique blend of exploration and gratitude. You really get a sense that the musicians are enjoying themselves, which always takes the music to another level. "With the Flow" starts off with a stately Redman solo and again features intimate conversation between the saxophones. The song evolves in rhythm and speed, with the drums and bass setting up a fabulous propulsive drive that allows Redman to sing and soar.
The tunes on Open Spaces are generous in both length and spirit and provide a welcome immersion in Dewey Redman's soundscape. The disc is a good introduction to Redman, as well as another addition to his rich and powerful body of work.
Track Listing: Going Through; Open Spaces; With the Flow.
Personnel: Dewey Redman: tenor saxophone; Francois Carrier: alto saxophone; Michel Donato, Ron
Sequin: bass; Michel Lambert: drums.
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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