The Joshua Redman Trio
@ Southbank Centre's Queen Elizabeth Hall
22 November 2007
Click an image to enlarge.
Joshua Redman was born February 1, 1969, in Berkeley, California.
By the time of his birth, his father, noted saxophonist Dewey Redman,
had moved to New York and was playing with Ornette Coleman. Redman's
only contact with his father was hearing his records around the
house and during infrequent visits to town with Coleman, Keith Jarrett,
Old and New Dreams, and others. His mother, Renee Shedroff, a dancer
and librarian, was the driving force that nurtured his creativity.
Redman's formal music training began when his mother enrolled him
in Indonesian and Indian music classes at the Center for World Music.
These unique art forms, along with the recordings of Sonny Rollins,
John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, and Dewey Redman were his early influences.
Redman soon learned to play the recorder, guitar, and piano.
At ten years old, Redman settled on the tenor saxophone; he had
been exposed to it since birth and felt naturally drawn to the sound.
He started with the clarinet and moved on to tenor the following
year. The Berkeley Public Schools had an exceptional jazz program,
directed by Phil Hardymon. (Graduates include Benny Green, Craig
Handy, Peter Apfelbaum, and Rodney Franklin, among others.)
Although he quickly became an accomplished saxophonist, Redman
was often more interested in popular music than jazz. Experimenting
with guitar and keyboards, he would seldom practice the saxophone.
The Berkeley High School jazz band, directed by Charles Hamilton,
won several competitions, with Redman usually named the best soloist.
His high school jazz quartet started working professionally. Though
he still didn’t practice, he was listening more and more,
rediscovering the music of Rollins, Gordon, and Coltrane, and also
absorbing the styles of Charlie Parker, Joe Henderson, Stanley Turrentine,
Ben Webster, Wayne Shorter, Coleman, and others. Always a serious
student, Redman’s academic studies took precedence over music.
With straight A’s throughout high school, he graduated in
1986 number one in his class. He wanted to become a doctor and was
accepted early admission to Harvard. Boston suited him well; he
could be in a city with a strong music scene and still concentrate
on his studies. While at Harvard, Redman played in the school jazz
band, but that was about it for music. His limited playing experiences
included a few gigs with Delfeayo Marsalis his senior year; after
weeks without practice, Redman would get on a plane and show up
for the gig. However, during summer breaks in Boston, he spent most
of his time hanging out with musicians at the Berklee College of
Music and participating in jam sessions. He also debuted with his
father at the Village Vanguard in summer 1990.
Redman graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1991, and
was accepted to Yale Law School. He was now on his way to a career
in civil rights law or social work, but before jumping in, he took
a year off. He wanted to check out the music scene in New York —
not as a career move, but as a chance to concentrate on being creative
again. In June 1991, he moved to a house with four other musicians
in Brooklyn. For the first time in his life, he was practicing regularly,
playing jam sessions every day, and taking advantage of the New
York jazz scene. He was also playing regularly with his father.
Finally, in late November 1991, he performed at the Thelonius Monk
International Jazz Saxophone Competition. He won the contest and
has since performed and/or recorded with Elvin Jones, Charles Haden,
Jack DeJohnette, Pat Metheny, Roy Hargrove, the Mingus Dynasty and
Big Band, Red Rodney, and Paul Motion, among many others.