An Emotive Splash of Color
Jack Baker | LeRoy,IL | 04/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Shades of Redd is a 1960 session featuring fantastic interplay between tenor saxophonist Tina Brooks, alto saxophonist Jackie McLean, ubiquitous bassist Paul Chambers, drummer Louis Hayes, and the leader, pianist Freddie Redd, who penned all seven of the compositions. This is my first exposure to Redd, who plays with a sure hand. According to the liner notes, he was somewhat of a mysterious figure, drifting from gig to gig, leaving just as suddenly as he would appear. I purchased this primarily because I own albums featuring the other musicians on the session. All of them are excellent as ever, but Freddie Redd really stands out as the star of this ensemble, both in performance and leadership. The choice of the interacting tenor and alto saxes, as opposed to a trumpet/saxophone combo is an inspired one and works well for this material.
The pieces vary in mood, which I'm assuming was the reason for the title, the 'Shades' being the various mindsets of the composer. "The Thespian" builds slowly before increasing in tempo and excitement, with a unison horn finish that really cooks. "Blues-Blues-Blues" is what it is, a bluesy number with strong alto/tenor work from McLean and Brooks. "Shadows" is an appropriately titled ballad, slow and melancholy, like the approach of evening. Redd really shines here, with an elegant solo that might be the defining moment of the set. "Melanie" is a peppy piece, named for the child of a friend. "Swift" is another aptly named piece, both in tempo and duration. Redd's quick-paced solo is the highlight here. "Just A Ballad For My Baby" is a very nice romantic piece. "Ole" adds a spicy Latin flavor to the session, Louis Hayes's percussion in particular adding to that impression. The RVG edition adds alternate takes of "Melanie" and "Ole". Redd's compositions are all quite excellent and I will be seeking out The Music from "The Connection" and Redd's Blues to add to my collection sometime in the future. Highly recommended.
Redd is Gold
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 03/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Shades of Redd" is one of the very best Blue Note recordings, and a relatively unknown masterpiece, due to its consistently drifting in and out of print over the years. Coming off his successful stint in The Music from "The Connection" (see my review), Freddie adds both Tina Brooks and Jackie McLean to his frontline for this album. In fact, Freddie had recorded versions of the music from "The Connection" with both of these saxophonists separately (the Tina Brooks account with Redd under Howard McGhee's leadership is out-of-print and quite rare), and his familiarity with their styles of playing shows. All of the Redd originals feature beautiful chromatic, lyrical playing from Brooks and McLean, but particularly on "The Thespian" and "Melanie." Paul Chambers and Louis Hayes complete the quintet, and they are solid as usual. Fans of Redd, Tina, Jackie Mac, or Blue Note in general should not miss the opportunity to get this CD now that it is readily available once more courtesy of the RVG series."
Hard bop at its finest
Gazzelloni | Cincinnati, OH USA | 06/19/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This session is definitely the best of Freddie Redd's offerings, and is arguably one of Blue Note's finer recordings. Recorded in 1960, the secret weapons on here are Jackie McLean on alto and Tina Brooks on tenor. This recording is as fine as any released by more prominent musicians in the Blue Note stable, with standouts such as 'Ole', 'The Thespian' and 'Just a Ballad for My Baby.' Certainly worth owning for any fan of this period.
Freddie Redd (piano)
Jackie McLean (alto sax)
Tina Brooks (tenor sax)
Paul Chambers (bass)
Louis Hayes (drums)"