Picks and Pans Review: Joshua Redman

updated 05/10/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/10/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Joshua Redman

In a quest to prove themselves kings of the jungle, many of the young lions of jazz strut their technical prowess and are quick to let out a fierce roar. Not Redman. On his debut as a leader on this eponymous album, the 24-year-old tenor saxophonist eases into a relaxed groove during the opening tune, "Blues on Sunday," and reveals a jaunty self-confidence and depth of feeling beyond his years.

Backed by pianist Kevin Hays, bassist Christian McBride and drummer Gregory Hutchinson, Redman serves up an eclectic mix of originals and standards for this session. He shines most on his own material, particularly "Wish," a wistful blues with a loping bass line. Redman has a fat sound on tenor, reminiscent of the Texas blues honkers, but he also nimbly navigates the quirky changes on Thelonious Monk's "Trinkle Tinkle."

One minor complaint: The album would have benefited from judicious editing. James Brown's "I Got You (I Feel Good)" doesn't fit well in this program. And even though Redman brings a youthful freshness to "Body & Soul," he does himself a disservice by inviting premature comparison with the historic interpretation of the tune by the father of the tenor sax, Coleman Hawkins.

This miscalculation is surprising, considering Redman's demonstrated eagerness to learn from his elders. In great demand currently as a sideman, Redman is featured on two other new releases. He is put to the test by John Coltrane's former drummer, Elvin Jones, on Jones's fiercely swinging album Youngblood (Enja), and passes with honors. He is also featured on Choices (Enja), a new record from his father, free-jazz saxophonist Dewey Redman. Both Redmans have a warm, vocal style of playing and use their horns to share the kind of feelings fathers and sons often have difficulty expressing in words. (Warner Bros.)

From Our Partners