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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf, Glyn Pursglove



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JOSHUA REDMAN

Compass

Nonesuch 7559 799 230

Concord 0888072306301

 

 

 

 
 
1. Uncharted
2. Faraway
3. Identity Thief
4. Just Like You
5. Hutchhiker's Guide
6. Ghost
7. Insomnomaniac
8. Moonlight
9. Un Peu Fou
10. March
11. Round Reuben
12. Little Ditty
13. Through The Valley
 
 
Joshua Redman - Tenor sax, soprano sax
Larry Grenadier - Bass (tracks 1-6, 8, 10, 12, 13)
Reuben Rogers - Bass (tracks 1, 3, 4, 7-13)
Brian Blade - Drums (tracks 2-4, 6, 8-13)
Gregory Hutchinson - Drums (tracks 1, 2-5, 7, 8, 10, 12)
 

As the recording date approached, Redman asked himself, "What would it be like with multiple bassists and drummers? What would it be like to do something with everybody in the room together? Common sense was telling me to stay away, that it had the makings of a big mess".

Thus the press release describes Joshua Redman's feelings before this recording session. He should have listened to common sense, as the resulting album strikes me mainly as a mess. Joshua wrote most of the compositions on the CD but, apart from Faraway, they are unmemorable and frequently bitty or repetitive (or both). For instance, Insomnomaniac consists primarily of an irritating riff but no genuine melody. Round Reuben starts off as a respectable bebop theme but degenerates into chaos. Even Moonlight (an adaptation of part of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata) sounds vague and unfocused. Many tracks give the impression of disorderly free jazz, whether they were planned or not.

I don't doubt that all those involved are fine musicians, and I have admired their work in other contexts but very little here seems to jell into satisfactory jazz. The press information tells us that Joshua thought: "Sometimes I'm guilty, with my recordings, of having too clear a plan. This time I said, 'Hey, I just have to let go'. If I try to plan it, it's not going to work". But it doesn't work. With this album, Joshua Redman seems to have lost the compass.

 
Tony Augarde

 



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