Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Jazz, Pop
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Michael L. Israel | Sonoma, CA | 08/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have never purchased a Joshua Redman cd before. I've heard his playing and been an admirer for some time. Without going into a full blown dissertation on every song I can tell you this. The playing is stellar, the melodies are great. The interplay is wonderful, the duet with his dad is almost haunting. I reccomend this for anyone looking for a really great contemporary jazz record."
Beautiful, mature, artful, and creative. Mesmerizing.
David W. Madeira | Nashville, TN USA | 10/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've noticed that the jazz records that end up being jewels in my collection have one thing in common: rarely did I like any of them on my first listen.
Such is the case with "Back East," which begins as if it will disappoint, but turns into a truly masterful record, filled with subtle nuance and a mature and sophisticated style.
On first listen, the jazz trio sound is tough to digest and fully enjoy. Especially given the exotic scales that permeate this record, I felt myself yearning to hear a master of subtle harmonies like Frank Kimbrough slip into the background on the keys, providing a rich and dense harmonic soup for the frontman to swim in. However, by the second listen the artful melodic nuance and tasty bass-sax counterpoint begins to come out, and this record can be appreciated for what it truly is: a maturation of Joshua Redman's style.
Compare this to 2005's "Momentum," and the frontman's artistic development becomes apparent. The previous album featured a kicking band, a rich and thick sound, complex rhythms and barn-burning tracks; yet it doesn't come near to the mature and artful style that "Back East" achieves. This is smoky club jazz at its best: jammy yet well-crafted, artfully conceived yet raw, complex yet palatable. This album is a masterpiece.
Take for example "Zarafah," composed by Redman himself. The lush, Eastern-influenced scales give the overarching implied harmonies its character, while Redman's effortless solos make the assymetrical 5/4 meter feel as easy as breathing. While at first I was dying to hear a piano or guitar player subtly sustaining the harmonic framework, as the piece progresses the implied harmonies begin to materialize out of nothingness to create a background that is, yet isn't, there.
Other highlights include the jammy "East of the Sun," the Redman-composed "Back East," and the exuberant "I'm an Old Cowhand," which features some brilliant interplay between the members of the trio. "Mantra #5" creeps into form through the communique between Redman and Chris Cheek, sitting in on sax.
One of the best tracks on the record is "Indonesia," another Redman original, which is clearly derived from the Lydian-sounding modes typical of Balinese gamelan (which greatly influenced Debussy and other 20th-century composers), adding to the exotic flavor of the album. True to the scaled-back and nuanced style, Ali Jackson brilliantly ditches the drum kit and plays almost entirely on merely a tambourine for the entire track.
All in all, this record far surpasses "Momentum" in terms of its artistic creativity and mature style. "Momentum" is barn-burning and catchy but it tires easily; "Back East" will be a mainstay."
drum6282 | 07/12/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Joshua Redman is hit or miss with me. I'm not really a fan of his elastic band stuff, so hearing him return to an acoustic format in a trio setting was a nice change for me. Each trio is unique and showcases each member in a different way - it's amazing how this stripped down format can stay interesting throughout the entire album. Recommended."