September 27, 2002

Test Spin: Joshua Redman

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The obvious technical skill and musical ingenuity encompassed in Joshua Redman’s newest release, Elastic, present themselves in every aspect of the music, from implementation of naturally sounding synthetic instruments to unique structural composition. Redman, on saxophones, Sam Yahel on keyboards, and Brian Blade on drums create flawless, intricate, yet not overly-dense soundscapes which allow a kind of agreement and balance between improvisation and groove. The interplay among the three musicians is what creates the cohesiveness of Elastic. The tightness and controlled angularity of the trio throughout every corner and twist of the music keeps the narrative flow of melodic instruments captivating.

Perhaps the most apparent aspect of Elastic is the steady groove from beginning to end. Songs flow together in a way that doesn’t seem dragged out or forced. Rather, the melodic, harmonic and percussive figures morph from one song to the next, creating a lineage that shows the album to be a work as a whole, not just in parts.

“Still Pushin’ That Rock” includes perfectly executed sax runs that would make Charlie Parker proud, but Redman, Yahel and Blade never lose grip on the song’s stream of consciousness. Redman’s trio have created an album that can be appreciated by jazz enthusiasts and neophytes alike.

Archived article by Thea Brown