When Joshua Redman formed Still Dreaming a couple of years ago, the group’s name and instrumentation—Redman on saxophone, Ron Miles on trumpet, Scott Colley on bass, Brian Blade on drums, no chordal instruments—were clearly meant as a reference to his late father Dewey Redman’s Old and New Dreams, which was itself a kind of continuation of Ornette Coleman’s classic quartet (consisting as it did of four former Coleman bandmates). That’s a potentially heavy historical burden for any band to carry, so it’s remarkable that Still Dreaming’s first album is characterized more than anything by its lightness.
This music has a permanent spring in its step; even when it slows down, it continues to dance. Colley’s “New Year” and Redman’s “Unanimity,” which open the album, are both giddily celebratory, with racing back-and-forth themes punctuated by sudden lateral moves. Like Coleman and Don Cherry, Redman and Miles have a special symbiosis, circling each other in a way that’s just out-of-line enough to be perfect. And as the lowdown “Blues for Charlie” demonstrates, they too share a deep grounding in the blues.