Home Featured Joshua Redman Quartet: LongGone review – musical soulmates reunite to stunning effect | Jazz

Joshua Redman Quartet: LongGone review – musical soulmates reunite to stunning effect | Jazz

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Joshua Redman Quartet: LongGone review – musical soulmates reunite to stunning effect | Jazz


The jazz equivalent of old soulmates finishing each other’s sentences is a risk run by almost all bands with long lifespans. Saxophonist Joshua Redman’s A-list quartet with pianist Brad Mehldau, bassist Christian McBride and drummer Brian Blade have solved that problem by meeting with tantalisingly rare frequency since their acclaimed 1994 debut.

That year, they were all rising stars rounded up by Redman – then the charismatic new tenor-sax kid on the block – united by devotion to the classic jazz tradition, but also by a collective spirit of adventure to stretch it. The quartet’s mid-90s rapport was enthralling, but burgeoning solo careers separated them until 2020’s RoundAgain reunion showed that their individual experiences since had only sharpened their intuition as a foursome. Now 2022’s LongGone takes the story forward.

Joshua Redman Quartet: LongGone album cover
Joshua Redman Quartet: LongGone album cover

The set’s coaxingly soulful title track is unfurled by Redman’s tenor, which is surrounded by Blade’s bustling brushwork, Mehldau’s nudging chords, and McBride’s springy countermelodies. Disco Ears is a vivacious but harmonically deceptive soprano sax springboard for Redman, Statuesque a sombrely hymnal deep-tenor meditation that becomes a choppy, improv-sparking groove, Ship to Shore a slinky, bluesy walk. But it’s the gospel-charged 12-minute live take, Rejoice, that stuns: a collective jam opened on a beckoning bass hook and driven to a rampant finale with the band locked into an almost choral unified voice, it really tells you why, after all these years, this group can still sell out the world’s concert halls in a blink.

Also out this month

Laura Jurd couldn’t write a bland tune if she tried. On The Big Friendly Album (Big Friendly Records) the gifted young trumpeter and composer celebrates new motherhood and her Celtic roots in brass-stomping jigs, folk tunes, and dreamy-to-spooky reveries. Throughout, her Miles-inflected trumpet lines, wild violins and crunching bass hooks keep sharpening her characteristic edge. Sublime American pianist Fred Hersch and Italian trumpet legend Enrico Rava duet on The Song Is You (ECM) in standard songs, free-improv, and two exquisite Thelonious Monk covers. German pianist/composer Julia Hülsmann and her empathic quartet shift up a gear with The Next Door (ECM), mingling moments of 1950s-jazz cool school sounds with free-jazz’s clamour; Hülsmann’s piano attack sounds jubilantly off the leash. And the late former Billie Holiday pianist Mal Waldron is in his flintily percussive, stubbornly Monk-like prime on the previously unreleased Searching in Grenoble: The 1978 Solo Piano Concert (Tompkins Square).