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Jazz

Joshua Redman

Trios Live

[Nonesuch]

3½ stars

So total and historic is the supremacy of tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins in the pianoless trio format that it also helps to remember how brilliant saxophonists Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane were in the pianoless trio format. And it is Coleman and Coltrane in free elaboration who are as much the ancestry of these live performances from 2013 and 2009 as Rollins’ majestic pianoless trio constructions for all time.

What that means is that along with the tenor saxophone heirs of Sonny Rollins’ constructivism, you’ll hear plenty of continuations of Coleman’s and Coltrane’s free flights into multphonics, etc. Redman, then, is a tenor and soprano saxophonist whose music – if it were abstract art – would suggest De Kooning and Pollock as much as Malevitch and Kandinsky.

The 2013 recordings were recorded live at Washington, D.C.’s Blues Alley and the 2009 recordings were recorded live at the Jazz Standard in New York. Gregory Hutchinson is the drummer on both, Matt Penman the bassist from 2009, Reuben Rogers from 2013. The spirit in these live performances – often punctuated vocally by the audience and members of the group – is steadfast and superb.

– Jeff Simon