Joshua Redman & Brooklyn Rider: Sun On Sand

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Sun On Sand features eight compositions – each one representing one aspect of light – all from Aspects Of Darkness And Light, a suite for tenor saxophone, bass, drums and string quartet composed and arranged by New York-born, Paris resident Patrick Zimmerli. Commissioned by the Seattle Commissioning Club, the full suite was premiered at London’s Wigmore Hall on 24 April 2014.

Zimmerli’s spritely, evocative music easily bridges the gap between classical music and contemporary jazz, his strong, driving themes and often-ebullient arrangements enthusiastically delivered by the Brooklyn Riders string quartet. Together they provide more than enough impetus to kick-start Redman’s jazz trio. The strings often veer towards folk intonations or dance steps, as on Between Dog And Water, where they sound a bit like the Penguin Café Orchestra, and swing like hell.

Redman replies with impassioned tenor lines, while bassist Scott Colley steals the show with a fine solo on the title track that slowly morphs into a delicate trio outing. The balletic Soft Focus stands out for its contrapuntal mix of string and reed, Through Mist for Redman’s driving solo and Takeishi’s talkative drums, Starbursts And Haloes for its mystery and imagination.

Strings and jazz trios do not usually mix that well, tending towards the twee or the ornate, but this combination works wonders, thanks to both Zimmerli’s music and the Brooklyns and the Redman trio willingness to let rip a bit. I surprise myself when I say this is an album I will regularly return to.

Discography
Flash; Between Dog And Wolf; Sun On Sand Dark White; Soft Focus; Through Mist; Starbursts And Haloes; Between Dog And Wolf (reprise) (40.22)
Redman (ts); Scott Colley (b); Satoshi Takeishi (d); Brooklyn Rider: Colin Jacobsen, Johnny Gandelsman (vn), Nicholas Cords (vla), Eric Jacobsen (clo). NYC, 29–30 April, 1 May 2015.
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