Advertisement
Advertisement

Redman, Mehldau, McBride, Blade: RoundAgain

In brief:
Brian Blade: “This band is like a turntable where the stylus was lifted but the turntable is still spinning. We just had to drop the needle, and there we were with all of the information we had gathered"

The monumental ensemble featuring Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau, Christian McBride and Brian Blade have touched base once again almost 30 years after they recorded Moodswing as the Joshua Redman Quartet.

As a bandleader for the first time, spanning almost a year and a half back in 1994, Redman knew this band were soon to dissolve: “I realised almost immediately that this band wouldn’t stay together for very long. They were without a doubt, for our generation, among the most accomplished and innovative on their respective instruments. They were already all in such high demand – everyone wanted to play with them! And they all had such strong and charismatic musical personalities – destined to start soon pursuing their own independent visions. I knew better than anyone else just how incredibly lucky I was to have even that short time with them.”

Advertisement

Redman spoke about how they had all played with one another at various moments in their careers but had never reunited: “I knew it would happen, but I didn’t know when, we were all so busy, and we needed the space, both in our schedules and in our creative development.”

Blade added further “This band is like a turntable where the stylus was lifted but the turntable is still spinning. We just had to drop the needle, and there we were with all of the information we had gathered. It has gotten deeper because of life itself, and because Joshua, Brad, and Christian plumb the depths every day.”

Mehldau has established himself as one of the most significant pianists of the last quarter-century, but also a composer who is never afraid to broaden his horizons. Christian McBride is a six-time Grammy winner and has been a notable spokesman as artistic director for the Newport Jazz Festival. He is also artistic chair of Jazz House Kids and host of Jazz Night In America. Blade, who co-leads the Brian Blade Fellowship, has made close connections with many musicians including Wayne Shorter, Joni Mitchell and Norah Jones.

RoundAgain begins with a Redman composition which features continuous circling phrases by Mehldau, fitting in with the saxophone where desired. Silly Little Love Song brings together the quartet with a familiar comping pattern and gives Redman a perfect platform to excel. Floppy Diss showcases the brilliant soprano ability of Redman, incorporating dense bebop lines with bluesy phrasing. Blade’s Your Part To Play is a beautifully shaped piece of art which begins mellow with plenty of space until reaching a climatic forte and finishing in similar nature to the introduction rounding off RoundAgain. 

Discography
Undertow; Moe Honk; Silly Little Love Song; Right Back Round Again; Floppy Diss; Father; Your Part to Play (44.39)
Joshua Redman (ts, ss); Brad Mehldau (p); Christian McBride (b); Brian Blade (d). c. 2020.
Nonesuch Records

Latest audio reviews

Advertisement

More from this author

Advertisement

Jazz Journal articles by month

Advertisement

Yosef Gutman Levitt: Soul Song

Out of music for some years, the Israeli bassist reunites with his Berklee mate Lionel Loueke in a mellifluous set reminiscent of Pat Metheny
Advertisement

Obituary: Mike Longo

Like many other jazz musicians whose wider fame rests on their association with others, Mike Longo, who has died in New York aged 81...
Advertisement

Border crossings: 50 years of ECM Records /2

Reviewing Maria Farantouri's and Cihan Turkoglu's Beyond The Borders (2017) this October, John Adcock spoke of “the broad church of the ECM catalogue”. Some...
Advertisement

Elastic Dream – The Music Of Ian Carr

Third edition of Roger Farbey's discography adds new information on the wide-ranging trumpeter and includes an illustrative CD
Advertisement

Jazz On A Summer’s Day

Many jazzers of a certain age – include me in - will remember seeing this pioneering documentary, directed by the distinguished photographer Bert Stern...
Advertisement

JJ 05/62: In My Opinion – Tommy Flanagan

This is one of a series of taped interviews with musicians, who are asked to give a snap opinion on a set of records...
Brian Blade: “This band is like a turntable where the stylus was lifted but the turntable is still spinning. We just had to drop the needle, and there we were with all of the information we had gathered"Redman, Mehldau, McBride, Blade: RoundAgain