Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Joshua Redman Walking Shadows Nonesuch 2013

Joshua Redman help reinvent the sound of the modern jazz orchestra.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Joshua Redman may well be the Hank Mobley of our generation, a versatile lyrical chameleon with the ability to blend his harmonic vision with any ensemble cast he chooses. Walking Shadows features Redman along with Brad Mehldau, Larry Grenadier, and Brian Blade. After some intense efforts over the last several years, Joshua Redman lays down a smoldering yet lyrically adventurous if not methodical groove that is the epitome of how to play tenor saxophone in a modern jazz setting.
The tunes are eclectic from The Beatles, Back, and Billy Strayhorn. The string arrangements from Dan Coleman are minimalist and serve as that golden thread in a melodic tapestry put forth by an orchestra working with an almost zen like approach to their presentation. Notes are not wasted, they are relished. To bring together one of the finest quartets of last two decades and include an even larger ensemble cast is either feast or famine. If all parties are not on the same page the orchestrations can lead to an almost immediate lyrical disconnect with the end result a release with two different groups moving in opposite directions. The synergy on display with Walking Shadows is the end result of all stars in proper alignment.
From the cinematic grandeur of "Infant Eyes" to the more melancholy approach to "Final Hour" there is that rare glimpse of the ebb and flow necessary to carry the weight of such an auspicious if not daring release.

Track Listing: The Folks Who Live On The Hill; Lush Life; Stop This Train; Adagio; Easy Living; Doll is Mine; Infant Eyes; Let it Be; Final Hour; Last Glimpse of Gotham, Stardust; Let me Down Easy.

Personnel: Joshua Redman: saxophones; Brad Mehldau: piano; Larry Grenadier: bass; Brian Blade: drums; Laura Frautschi (Concertmistress), Avril Brown, Christina Courtin, Karen Karlsrud, Ann Leathers, Katherine Livolsi, Landau, Joanna Maurer, Courtney Orlando, Yuri Vodovos: violins; Vincent Lionti, Daniel Panner, Dov Scheindlin: viola; Stephanie Cummins, Eugene Moye, Ellen Westermann: cello; Timothy Cobb: bass; Pamela Sklar: flute; Robert Carlisle: French horn; Conducted by Dan Coleman.