Joshua Redman Brings 'Walking Shadows' to Life at Town Hall

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Thursday May 16, 2013

From Broadway World

Jazz Saxophonist Joshua Redman Performs June 4th at Town Hall
By: BWW News Desk

Jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman’s May 7, 2013 release, Walking Shadows (Nonesuch), is a collection of vintage and contemporary ballads and Redman’s first recording to include an orchestral ensemble. Redman’s June 4 performance at the historic Town Hall will include the same quartet featured on Walking Shadows – longtime collaborators and close friends Brad Mehldau on piano, Larry Grenadier on bass, and Brian Blade on drums. The New York based orchestra The Knights will help bring the music of Walking Shadows to life. This is the first of a very limited number of Redman performances that will include a strings ensemble and the only engagement that will include the album’s all-star quartet.

Creating his own take on the classic jazz-with-strings album was the initial impetus for Joshua Redman’s Walking Shadows, a collection of ballads that Jeff Simon from the Buffalo News calls “sometimes exquisite and never less than exceptionally beautiful.” With his friend and frequent collaborator, pianist Brad Mehldau, on board as producer, Redman has retooled a familiar formula. The jazz-with-strings concept serves as a starting point, as foundation and inspiration, for Redman’s exploration of an ambitiously eclectic set of tunes performed in a variety of configurations. The strings themselves are an active, emotive presence on the six songs in which they are featured and their absence on other tracks only seems to heighten the drama of those more austerely arranged compositions.

“The strings add a richness and a lushness, a romanticism and even a touch of nostalgia to the music,” explains Redman. “We wanted the orchestra to feel like an essential element of the tracks on which it performs and sound as if it were genuinely a part of the improvisation and conversation, of the ebb and flow. It’s one of the reasons it was so important for us to record everything live, with the strings at the same time, as opposed to recording them in a session as an overdub, which might have been technically and logistically a lot easier. But musically, I think that would have made everything feel less natural and integrated. “

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