The term “journeyman” often gets used in a pejorative way to describe veteran jazz musicians of a certain age, like they’re perennial sidemen or sidewomen and not capable of headlining concerts or festivals. However, in the case of drummer/vibist Chuck Redd, the term well describes his life in music, in part because he still journeys around the world as a performer and in part because he’s had a truly incredible journey through the jazz world—recording and performing with the likes of Charlie Byrd, Barney Kessel, Monty Alexander, Dizzy Gillespie, Mel Tormé, and other jazz greats. Redd estimates that he’s been on close to 100 albums.
Born and bred in Silver Spring, Maryland, Redd started out as a drummer and soon picked up the vibraphone which became his primary instrument, though he still plays drums on his own gigs as well as on other artists’ sets. As Redd points out, the vibraphone is an instrument that is not in demand as much, as say, saxophone or guitar, but in turn has fewer artists who’ve mastered it.