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Joshua Redman: Timeless Tales (For Changing Times)

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I happen to know one young woman who buys Joshua Redman discs because she loves his eyes. I know a couple of others who never miss his gigs because they like his moves on stage. The rest of us simply admire his considerable prowess on tenor. Redman has the uncanny ability to straddle Jug and Trane while keeping one eye open toward the entertainment factor. He does so rather seamlessly on Timeless Tales (for Changing Times), his sixth album for Warner Bros.

This is the same ground that trumpeter Nicholas Payton traveled successfully a couple of years ago in modernizing New Orleans standards on Gumbo Nouveau. Here Joshua has chosen to reinterpret familiar works by a host of revered pop songwriters spanning from Tin Pan Alley to (The Artist Formerly Known as) Prince. Partly because he is such a strong player and partly because he is accompanied by such inventive, swinging sidemen as pianist and labelmate Brad Meldhau, bassist Larry Grenadier, and drummer Brian Blade, this “Jazzin’ Up the Pops” project works like a charm.

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