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Sun, 05.17.1931

Dewey Redman, Musician, and Bandleader born

Dewey Redman

*Dewey Redman was born on this date in 1931.  He was a Black saxophonist who performed free jazz as a bandleader. 

Walter Dewey Redman was born in Fort Worth, Texas. He attended I.M. Terrell High School and played in the school band with Ornette Coleman, Prince Lasha, and Charles Moffett. After high school, he briefly enrolled in the electrical engineering program at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama but became disillusioned with the program and returned home to Texas. In 1953, he earned a bachelor's degree in Industrial Arts from Prairie View A&M University. While at Prairie View, he switched from clarinet to alto saxophone, then to tenor.

After graduating, he served for two years in the U.S. Army.  After his discharge from the Army, Redman began working on a master's degree in education at the University of North Texas. While working on his degree, he taught music to fifth graders in Bastrop, Texas, and worked as a freelance saxophonist at night and weekends in Austin, Texas. In 1957, he graduated in Education with a minor in Industrial Arts. While in North Texas, he did not enroll in any music classes.  In 1959, he moved to San Francisco, resulting in collaboration with clarinetist Donald Rafael Garrett.  During this time, he married white Jewish dancer Renee Sherdroff; they had one son, Joshua Redman

Redman was best known for his 1968-1972 collaboration with saxophonist Coleman, with whom he had performed in his Fort Worth high school marching band. He also played in pianist Keith Jarrett's American Quartet (1971–1976). Jarret's The Survivors' Suite was voted Jazz Album of the Year by Melody Maker in 1978. In the 1970s, Redman formed Old and New Dreams with Don Cherry, Charlie Haden, and Ed Blackwell. They recorded four albums in the period to 1987.  Redman was recorded as a sideman with Paul Motian and Pat Metheny. In 1981 he performed at the Woodstock Jazz Festival for the tenth anniversary of the Creative Music Studio. He was the subject of the award-winning documentary film Dewey Time directed by Daniel Berman (2001). 

On February 19 and 21, 2004, he played tenor saxophone as a special guest with Jazz at Lincoln Center in a concert entitled "The Music of Ornette Coleman". Reviewing the performance, Howard Mandell wrote, "Redman, a veteran of Coleman's bands, played on 'Ramblin' and 'Peace', demonstrating more originality, maturity, and conviction than anyone else on the bandstand." He played tenor saxophone, though he occasionally played alto saxophone, the Chinese suona (which he called a musette), and clarinet.  

Dewey Redman died of liver failure in Brooklyn, New York, on September 2, 2006. He is buried at the Calverton National Cemetery in Calverton, Suffolk County, New York.  On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Dewey Redman among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.  

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