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Mark Masters Ensemble: Farewell Walter Dewey Redman

This album was supposed to be a collaboration between Dewey Redman (as composer and tenor saxophone soloist) and Mark Masters (as arranger for a 15-piece ensemble). But it became a tribute album when Redman died on September 2, 2006, four weeks before this recording was made. The project went forward, with Oliver Lake on alto saxophone filling Redman’s vacant chair. The other featured soloist is trumpeter Tim Hagans.

Redman was, roughly speaking, an outcat, and therefore played mostly in small groups. Masters’ achievement is to capture Redman’s impulsive creative spirit in arrangements for big band. Tight, fierce Redman anthems like “I-Pimp” and “Thren” and “Dewey’s Tune” are projected onto a larger screen and given new weight and scale. But Masters knows that charts in praise of Redman must sound like they might go anywhere, moment to moment, then must set soloists free.

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