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Redman's Riveting Tribute to Ornette Coleman

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Friday March 31, 2017

From The Washington Post

Joshua Redman’s riveting tribute to free jazz legend Ornette Coleman
By: Michael J. West

Old and New Dreams, a jazz band formed some 40 years ago, comprised former creative partners of Ornette Coleman who came together to celebrate and extend his legacy. “And now here we are, celebrating their celebration,” said saxophonist Joshua Redman (son of founding OND member Dewey Redman, who died in 2006) on Thursday night, introducing his quartet Still Dreaming at the Howard Theatre. “Feels very postmodern, doesn’t it?”

It certainly did, not least in the sense that Coleman’s revolution was a step beyond what had been called “modern jazz” (i.e., bebop). And Still Dreaming immersed itself deeply in Coleman’s legacy, both directly and indirectly. But it never felt recycled — in fact, it was consistently riveting.

Still Dreaming features the same instrumentation as the original OND: tenor sax (Redman), cornet (Ron Miles), bass (Scott Colley) and drums (Brian Blade). The first two tunes, Redman’s “Still Dreaming” and Colley’s “New Year,” both strongly hinted at the patron saint of free jazz. The former suspiciously echoed Coleman’s theme “Lonely Woman,” especially in Colley’s thrumming bass, before changing course into a Bach-like melody. The latter employed a favorite Coleman device of Redman, Miles and Colley trading two-bar phrases with Blade, then gunning the free-improv motor on the bridge.

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