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Sat, 02.01.1969

Joshua Redman, jazz from the Bay

Joshua Redman

*Joshua Redman was born on this date in 1969. He is a Black jazz musician and composer.

From Berkeley, California, Redman is the son of Black jazz saxophonist Dewey Redman and Jewish dancer Renee Shedroff.  As a child, he was exposed to many forms of music at the Center for World Music in Berkeley, where his mother studied South Indian dance. He was exposed at an early age to a variety of music (jazz, classical, rock, soul, Indian, Indonesian, Middle-Eastern, African) and instruments (recorder, piano, guitar, gatham, gamelan). Redman began playing clarinet at age nine before switching to what became his primary instrument, the tenor saxophone, one year later. Redman’s early music influences were John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Cannonball Adderley and his father, as well as the Beatles, Aretha Franklin, the Temptations, Earth, Wind and Fire, Prince, the Police and Led Zeppelin.

He graduated from Berkeley High School in 1986 and played in the Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble for all 4 years. In 1991, he graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Social Studies from Harvard University, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa Society. He had been accepted by Yale Law School, but deferred entrance for what he believed was only going to be one year. He moved in with fiends in New York City to help with the rent and immediately he found himself immersed in the New York jazz scene.

He began playing regularly with Peter Bernstein, Larry Goldings, Kevin Hays, Roy Hargrove, Geoffrey Keezer, Leon Parker, Jorge Rossy and Mark Turner and others. That same year, Redman won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition. Committed to his music, Redman was signed by Warner Bros. Records and issued his first, self-titled album in 1993, which subsequently earned Redman his first Grammy nomination. Redman continued to develop his style beginning as a sideman on Elvin Jones' Youngblood alongside Javon Jackson and following up with an appearance on his father’s 1992 record Choices. On his second album Wish, guitarist Pat Metheny, bassist Charlie Haden, and drummer Billy Higgins joined him; he would later tour this album as The Joshua Redman Quartet.

He continued to work with various quartets, including one with pianist Brad Mehldau until forming a trio, Elastic, with keyboardist Sam Yahel and drummer Brian Blade. In 1994, Redman appeared on the Red Hot Organization's compilation CD, Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool, appearing on a track titled "The Scream" along side Us3 and Tony Remy. Time Magazine named the album “Album of the Year”. Redman performed on the soundtrack of the made for TV film "Love and Betrayal: The Mia Farrow Story" (1995). He also appeared as a member of the "Louisiana Gator Boys" in the 1998 film Blues Brothers 2000. In 2000, Redman was named Artistic Director for the Spring Season of the non-profit jazz-presenting organization SFJAZZ. Inaugurated in 2004, the eight-piece band consists of a multi-generational cast of accomplished musicians.

In 2007, Redman announced that he was taking a hiatus from both the SFJAZZ Artistic Directorship and the SFJAZZ Collective to focus on new projects. Redman has made a guest appearance on an episode of the TV show Arthur as the uncle of Francine. He also appeared on Reading Rainbow, episode as "Hip-Cat", in which Redman discussed with host LeVar Burton the importance of music and how jazz had affected his life and performed. In 2007, Nonesuch released Redman’s first ever piano-less trio record, Back East, featuring Joshua alongside three bass and drum rhythm sections and three guest saxophonists.

His 2009 release, Compass (a trio), included some tracks with a double-trio set-up, featuring saxophone, two basses, and two drummers. That same year, Redman performed with James Farm, featuring pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Matt Penman, and drummer Eric Harland. They released their first album in 2011.  In 2013, Redman joined a group of jazz all-stars onstage at the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, DC, to pay tribute to honoree Herbie Hancock in performance.

In 2015, Redman received his third Grammy nomination for his solo on "Friend or Foe" from the album The Bad Plus Joshua Redman

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