Joshua Redman’s run on Nonesuch has involved collaborations with The Bad Plus and labelmate Brad Mehldau, so this outing with the string quartet Brooklyn Rider fits in well. Together, they perform compositions by Patrick Zimmerli, who crafted arrangements for Redman’s 2013 strings album Walking Shadows (and whose writing formed the backbone of Mehldau and Kevin Hays’ 2011 tandem project Modern Music).
Sun on Sand is mainly a tenor sax and string quartet encounter, though the formidable Scott Colley is prominent on upright bass throughout. His rapport with drummer Satoshi Takeishi, playing a mixed kit with a wealth of organic percussive timbres (and no snare), gives the date all the rhythmic elasticity and punch it needs as it travels between chamber music and jazz, between densely notated episodes and surging improvisation. Redman is in the zone on these challenging yet often tuneful works, including “Soft Focus,” the one track without a rhythm section.