Redman’s second outing with keyboardist Sam Yahel and their groove-oriented combo boasts “irresistibly funky hooks, sizzling backbeats, and edgy, electronic synths,” says the Boston Herald. Guests include bassist Flea, guitarist Jeff Parker, trumpeter Nicholas Payton, Me’Shell Ndegéocello, and Roots drummer ?uestlove.
Saxophonist, composer, and bandleader Joshua Redman—whom The Los Angeles Times has called “one of the most vital figures in jazz of the new century”—moves to Nonesuch with two new records. Nonesuch will release two albums that demonstrate the breadth of Redman’s current musical endeavors on May 24: SFJAZZ Collective, an acoustic record featuring Redman with the all-star band he created with the San Francisco Jazz Organization (SFJAZZ), and The Joshua Redman Elastic Band’s Momentum, the second recording from his electric ensemble.
Following years of residence in New York City, Redman returned in 2002 to his native California, where he began collaborating with SFJAZZ eventually becoming the non-profit organization’s Spring Season Artistic Director. Redman and SFJAZZ Executive Director Randall Kline had an idea that The New York Times called a “eureka moment”: the creation of a collective of musicians distinguished not just by virtuosity, but by a unique primary emphasis on composition. The group, inaugurated in 2004, consists of a changing cast of accomplished musicians, each of whom is required to compose a piece of music that can be further developed in collaboration with the collective. The live performances are divided into two parts: The first is dedicated to the music of a modern composer—Ornette Coleman in 2004, John Coltrane in 2005—while the second consists of music by the Collective. The SFJAZZ Collective album comprises recordings from the Collective’s acclaimed first series of live performances in 2004, which included a residency in San Francisco and a handful of additional shows throughout California. The 2004 Collective included vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, saxophonist Miguel Zenón, trumpeter Nicholas Payton, pianist Renee Rosnes, trombonist Josh Roseman, bassist Robert Hurst, and drummer Brian Blade. The album’s seven tracks feature compositions by Hutcherson, Zenón, Redman, and Rosnes, as well as three by Ornette Coleman. The 2005 SF JAZZ Collective consisted of Joshua Redman (saxophone), Bobby Hutcherson (vibes), Miguel Zenón (saxophone) Nicholas Payton (trumpet), Renee Rosnes (piano), Isaac Smith (trombone), Matt Penman (bass), Eric Harland (drums).
Momentum is the second album from The Joshua Redman Elastic Band. At this group’s core is Redman’s ongoing collaboration with Sam Yahel, with whom Redman began composing, performing, and—with Brian Blade on drums—recording in 2002. Playing with Jeff Ballard on drums, Redman and Yahel have performed live in several major US cities. A Los Angeles Times review said, “It’s no mystery that samplers, sequencers and rhythm machines can produce remarkable results in the hands of performers with minimal musical skills. Would artists such as Redman, keyboardist Sam Yahel and drummer Jeff Ballard find something richer, deeper, darker? The answer is yes.” Redman and Yahel worked together to create Redman’s album Elastic, as well as a recording released the same year under the moniker Yaya3. Like these previous forays, and this time with a diverse cast of players, Momentum draws upon rock, funk, and other groove-based musical elements, augmenting Redman’s saxophone improvisation with various electric effects and instruments.
The 12-track album includes interpretations of songs by Sheryl Crow, Led Zeppelin, and Ornette Coleman—in addition to material composed by Redman and his Elastic Band counterparts—and features performances by drummer Jeff Ballard, vibraphonist Stefon Harris, trumpeter Nicholas Payton, and guitarists Jeff Parker, Eric Krasno, Kurt Rosenwinkel and Peter Bernstein. Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea plays on three of the album’s tracks, Michelle N’Degeocello plays bass on Redman’s composition “Greasy G,” and ?uestlove of The Roots joins Redman on drums for “Put It in Your Pocket.”
Nonesuch President Bob Hurwitz has expressed his enthusiasm about Redman and the new albums. “It’s our great fortune to begin our relationship with Joshua Redman, especially at this particular moment,” says Hurwitz. “While Josh has over the last decade established himself as one of the most important jazz artists of his time, our relationship is starting at a time when he is exploring two quite distinct areas of music, both of which draw upon his past and point towards the future. We are equally excited about both albums and both directions, and look forward to many great things in the future.”
Produced by Joshua Redman and Sam Yahel
Co-produced by Paul Boothe
Recorded at Bennett Studios (Englewood, NJ) by Dae Bennett, Brian Dohoretz and Paul Boothe; Royaltone Studios (North Hollywood, CA) by Paul Boothe and Chris Wonzer; and Sear Sound (New York, NY) by Paul Boothe and Steve Mazur
Additional recording at Studio Yaya, Schway Sound and Chez DiazBoothe by Sam Yahel, Joshua Redman and Paul Boothe
Edited by Joshua Redman, Sam Yahel, Dae Bennett, Brian Dohoretz, Chris Wonzer and Andy Sarroff
Mixed by Paul Boothe with Andy Sarroff at RPM Studios, New York, NY
Mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound, New York, NY
Tracks 7, 9, 11, 12 written by Joshua Redman; tracks 3, 10 by Joshua Redman, Sam Yahel, Brian Blade; track 1, 13 by Joshua Redman, Sam Yahel, Jefferson Ballard; track 4 by Sam Yahel; track 5 by Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Bonham, John Paul Jones; track 6 by Sheryl Crow; track 8 by Ornette Coleman. All songs arranged by Joshua Redman and Sam Yahel.
?uestlove appears courtesy of Geffen Records
Flea appears courtesy of Warner Brothers Records
Stefon Harris appears courtesy of Blue Note Records
Kurt Rosenwinkel appears courtesy of The Verve Music Group
Design by John Gall
Photography by Michael Wilson
Joshua Redman, tenor saxophone (1, 2, 4-8, 11, 12, 13), soprano saxophone (9, 10), organ (3, 12), bass synth, clavinet (12)
Jeff Ballard, drums (1, 2, 4, 8, 9, 13), drum synth (8)
Sam Yahel, bass synth (1-4, 6, 8, 9, 13), ambient synth (1, 3, 8, 10), lead synth (1, 4), rhodes (2-4, 6-10, 12, 13), organ (2, 4, 5, 6, 9, 11), clavinet (2, 4, 9)
Brian Blade, drums (3, 5-7, 10, 11)
Flea, bass (5, 10, 11)
Jeff Parker, guitar (6)
Meshell Ndegeocello, bass (7)
Eric Krasno, guitar (7)
Stefon Harris, vibes (8, 9)
Kurt Rosenwinkel, guitar (9
Peter Bernstein, guitar (11, 12)
?uestlove, drums (12)
Nicholas Payton, trumpet (12)