Picks and Pans Review: Talking With...
updated 05/10/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 05/10/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT
KEYS TO THE KINGDOM
AFTER GRADUATING SUMMA CUM laude from Harvard with a degree in social science in June 1991, Joshua Redman had a place waiting for him at Yale Law School but decided he would rather play jazz full-time. His dad, saxophonist Dewey Redman, told him he was doing the wrong thing. "He knows how hard the jazz life can be," Joshua says. "But he can't tell me what to do."
Raised in Berkeley by his mother, Renee Shedroff, a dancer and librarian, Joshua saw his father only on the rare occasions Dewey had a gig in the area. "I didn't feel abandoned because being the child of a single parent was the only life I knew," Joshua says. "Materially there was some hardship. We were on welfare most of my young life. But that had nothing to do with my father being there or not, because he struggled to survive just as we did." As a boy Joshua fell in love with the tenor saxophone by listening to John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon and his own father on records. "The sound of the tenor is so commanding yet at the same time compassionate," he says.
Today, Joshua occasionally plays sax alongside his father at clubs across the country. Dewey has been giving his son some advanced tutelage in the meaning of the blues. "My dad grew up in Fort Worth in the '30s and '40s under a kind of hardship I'll never experience but which is part of my heritage and psyche," Joshua says. "So when I play with him, I learn a lot about a hidden part of myself."