Tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman has led many bands over the decades, but the one documented on 1994’s MoodSwing never lost its luster, mainly because all the band members became hugely consequential leaders themselves. On RoundAgain, after more than 25 years, Redman brings the MoodSwing lineup back. Pianist Brad Mehldau, bassist Christian McBride, and drummer Brian Blade have accrued no small amount of wisdom and artistic growth in the time that’s passed, and the results explode from the speakers. (Guitarist Peter Bernstein did something similar in 2017, reuniting his Signs of Life quartet with Mehldau, McBride, and Gregory Hutchinson for Signs Live!.)
Redman wrote everything on MoodSwing, but here he contributes three tunes (“Undertow,” “Silly Little Love Song,” “Right Back Round Again”), Mehldau two (“Moe Honk,” “Father”), and McBride and Blade one apiece (“Floppy Diss” and “Your Part to Play,” respectively). That’s a big difference: four compositional voices as opposed to just one, and highly refined and mature voices at that. Amid the technical polish and sophistication, there’s a deeply lyrical, bluesy, funky character and a still youthful spirit permeating these tracks.