The Surrey With the Fringe On Top
East of the Sun (West of the Sun)
I'm an Old Cowhand
Way Out West
The pianoless sax-trio format (sax, bass, drums) has yielded superb albums throughout jazz history, including such gems as Sonny Rollins’ Way Out West, Joe Henderson’s State of the Tenor, and Branford Marsalis’ Trio Jeepy. Here, Joshua Redman uses the trio format to his advantage, coming up with a consistently entertaining, creatively arranged, and wonderfully played slate of songs. The Rollins sway is readily apparent: Two tracks here, “I’m an Old Cowhand” and “Wagon Wheels,” appeared on Rollins’ aforementioned 1957 masterpiece (albeit with different arrangements), but Rollins’ influence is even more perceptible in Redman’s quick wit, his respect for the melodies, and his underlying tenderness. (In addition, the swinging opener, “Surrey with the Fringe on Top,” which Redman handles with great flair and taste, is also a longtime staple of the Rollins repertoire.) Redman switches to soprano on his Eastern-flavored original “Zarafah” and craftily trades lines with fellow tenor Joe Lovano on Wayne Shorter’s “Indian Song.” Redman’s father Dewey, who passed away following this recording, joins in on John Coltrane’s “India,” and he has the trio spotlight to himself on the closing track, his own “GJ.” Thanks to vibrant interaction with his sidemen and his own effervescent improvisations, the younger Redman offers one of his most rewarding sets.