410

Dewey Redman: The Struggle Continues

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
Dewey Redman: The Struggle Continues Dewey Redman, who died September 2, 2006 at the age of 75, will be best remembered for his work with Ornette Coleman from 1967-1974 and Keith Jarrett's "American" quartet in the mid-1970s, with an overall reputation leaning towards the freer side of jazz expression.

The Struggle Continues, recorded in 1982, is making its first appearance on CD and is quite welcome. The overall style is on the straight-ahead side, but rather than merely play changes using the well-known language of bop, hard bop and post bop, chances are taken — the mark of the creative artist. For Redman, there is no need to play outside of the boundaries of the music at hand. Indeed, his playing on one of his last recordings, alto saxophonist Francois Carrier's freely improvised Open Spaces (Spool, 2006), is exactly what is needed, but at the other end of the spectrum.

Redman's supporting band is very sharp, featuring bassist Mark Helias, who plays aggressively with a full, deep sound, while maintaining a strong connection to drummer Ed Blackwell and pianist Charles Eubanks. They sound like a band and not merely a collection of good players brought together for a recording session.

Redman wrote all the compositions except the last, "Dewey Square," which is by Charlie Parker, and each shows a different side of his personality within the more structured confines of the mainstream. However, because Redman is such an original artist, The Struggle Continues is anything but a pure straight-ahead session as every note becomes personalized and hence recognizable as coming from him.

"Thren" starts out clearly enough with its bebop-ish theme. However, over the straight drumming and walking bass, Redman plays with rhythmic freedom, while never losing touch with Helias and Blackman. Eubank's answering solo takes up the challenge and things get hot. Once it gets going, "Love Is" initially sounds like a straightforward jazz ballad, except that the meter refuses to be in 3 or in 4, making for a lovely effect underneath Redman's expressive playing.

"Turn Over Baby" is a real low-down, slinky, deep bluesy piece that makes you realize that Redman can do that convincingly too, but this and "Joie De Vivre," a delightful light swinger, act as an aural cleanser for "Combinations." Here, the free Redman surfaces, as he and the band play an intense, harmonically static, racing track that is just long enough to show that Redman can do this too, without losing the album's balance.

The set ends with "Dewey Square," and Redman is again himself, playing rhythmically free lines against the Parker changes. The Struggle Continues presents an artist who is a true original, putting his stamp on every note played. Redman and the band are clearly having fun, playing accessible music of the highest quality.


Track Listing: Thren; Love Is; Turn Over Baby; Joie de Vivre; Combination; Dewey Square.

Personnel: Dewey Redman; tenor saxophone; Charles Eubanks: piano; Mark Helias: bass; Ed Blackwell: drums.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: ECM Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Protean Reality" CD/LP/Track Review Protean Reality
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 24, 2016
Read "The Drive" CD/LP/Track Review The Drive
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 16, 2016
Read "Rhythm and Romance" CD/LP/Track Review Rhythm and Romance
by Jeff Winbush
Published: August 12, 2016
Read "My Foolish Heart" CD/LP/Track Review My Foolish Heart
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 3, 2017
Read "Rumi Songs" CD/LP/Track Review Rumi Songs
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 4, 2016
Read "05:21" CD/LP/Track Review 05:21
by Jim Trageser
Published: November 28, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!