Joshua Redman: Come What May
The last time the Joshua Redman Quartet released an album was in 2001—it was their second, titled Passage of Time , and it came just a year after their debut, Beyond . Now Redman, who recently turned 50, has amassed a much more extensive discography that has taken him in numerous directions, testing his flexibility as a leader, band member, composer and improviser. He made a record in 2015 as a guest of The Bad Plus, cut a couple with the excellent quartet James Farm, paid tribute to his late father Dewey Redman’s band Old and New Dreams and released a duets set pairing him with pianist Brad Mehldau. Come What May , in a sense, returns the master saxophonist to familiar territory—he and his quartet mates (pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Gregory Hutchinson) displayed a special affinity right off the bat in the previous decade, and that’s still there—but it also advances their relationship. They are all, of course, older now, and there’s more maturity, less of a push to prove, than existed on the earlier sides. The title track, one of seven new Redman compositions, is a prime example: It unfolds at a leisurely pace, with Redman blowing softly, his tone warm and sensual; the others are there for confident support, not to grab the spotlight. Only two tracks, in fact, “How We Do” and “DGAF,” present the band in a fired-up state of mind. There too, the connections are intuitive and the playing is sharp as can be. It’s both as if they never went away and still have so much more to say.