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Don Redman

Don Redman is considered the first jazz composer/arranger by many. He was also the first musician with both the inspiration and academic knowledge for this style of music. In short, he invented jazz writing for the big band, not only writing separate parts for reed and brass "choirs", leaving room for hot solos, but putting sections in opposition which solved the problems of the new style, thus showing everyone else how to do it. His brother led a band in Cumberland, Maryland and his father was a noted music teacher and had performed in a brass band. His mother was a singer. Don began playing the trumpet at the age of three, joined his first band at 6 and by the age of 12 was proficient on all wind instruments including the oboe. Don studied music at Storer's College in Harper's Ferry and conservatories in Boston & Chicago

ARTICLE: RADIO

Vic Juris & Dizzy Reece

Read "Vic Juris & Dizzy Reece" reviewed by Joe Dimino

We keep our traction here in 2020 as we begin the 629th Episode of Neon Jazz with talented modern day drummer Tyshawn Sorey. We talked about his roots and influneces in jazz and he noted Duke Ellington, John Coltrane and Dizzy Gillespie. From there, we get into new tunes for the new year with Canadian cat ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEWS

Rick Lawn: The Evolution of Big Band Sounds in America

Read "Rick Lawn: The Evolution of Big Band Sounds in America" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

From the latter part of the Jazz Age through the Swing Era, big bands dominated the jazz scene and a large part of the entertainment industry. After World War II, their fortunes declined, but their music soared to new heights, spurred on by innovative leaders, instrumentalists, and very importantly, the composers/arrangers who worked behind the scenes ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Birth of the Big Bands 1923 - 1936)

Read "Birth of the Big Bands 1923 - 1936)" reviewed by Russell Perry

In the last hour, we listened to the pioneering jazz orchestra of Duke Ellington. Large jazz ensembles, such as Ellington's, soon to be known as “Big Bands," evolved through the 1920s with significant innovations led by bandleaders Fletcher Henderson, Benny Carter, Jimmie Lunceford and Don Redman, and arrangers Carter, Redman, Edgar Sampson and Sy Oliver. By ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Up In Harlem - The Bands (1924 - 1929)

Read "Up In Harlem - The Bands (1924 - 1929)" reviewed by Russell Perry

In the last hour, we explored the jazz of King Oliver's Chicago in the 1920s, and heard from The New Orleans Rhythm Kings, clarinetists Jimmy Noone and Johnny Dodds, pianists Earl Hines and Lovie Austin, cornetist Freddie Keppard and trumpeter Jabbo Smith. Now we move to the other emerging center of the music, New ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Jim McNeely: Barefoot Dances and Other Visions

Read "Barefoot Dances and Other Visions" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

When today's top composer-arrangers of large ensemble jazz are discussed, Jim McNeely's name sometimes gets overlooked. He deserves the recognition. He's been a long- time associate of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra and its descendant, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, and he's also done a lot of work with several European big bands. It could be ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Jim McNeely / Frankfurt Radio Big Band: Barefoot Dances and Other Visions

Read "Barefoot Dances and Other Visions" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Barefoot Dances and Other Visions is a contemporary seven-part suite written by composer/arranger Jim McNeely in 2014 for the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, with whom he has worked since 2008. “I tailored my musical visions," he writes, “to fit each player in the ensemble, and placed each soloist in a framework both familiar and challenging." Challenging ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Brian Carpenter’s Ghost Train Orchestra: Book Of Rhapsodies Vol. II

Read "Book Of Rhapsodies Vol. II" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

There have been several ensembles in the past couple of decades that delved into the novelty jazz recordings of the Thirties and Forties. In the Netherlands there have been The Beau Hunks and the Willem Breuker Kollektief and in this country there have been Don Byron's Bug Music group and Brian Carpenter's Ghost Train Orchestra.

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Keith Karns Big Band: An Eye on the Future

Read "An Eye on the Future" reviewed by Jack Bowers

It's hard to know in advance exactly what to expect from a big-band album whose title is An Eye on the Future. Luckily, the horizon as leader Keith Karns sees it is rhythmically persuasive, harmonically alluring, acknowledges an indispensable bond to the past and swings like crazy. On this album, it's a tomorrow that also sets ...

NEWS: RECORDING

Don Redman All-Stars: 1957

Don Redman All-Stars: 1957

Don Redman today is a forgotten giant of the swing era. A saxophonist and percussionist who played with Fletcher Henderson's band and McKinney's Cotton Pickers in the 1920s, Redman's true genius rested in his sophisticated big-band arrangements, starting in the late 1920s. By the early 1930s, he was writing complex dance charts years before the music ...


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