Jan 4, 2016
Fifty years ago today, a bright new voice on the tenor saxophone began recording his first solo album, in a San Francisco studio. Dewey Redman’s quartet of Redman on tenor sax; Jim Young on piano, Donald Garrett on bass and clarinet, and Eddie Moore on drums recorded five original tunes that day. That session would originally be released on the Fontana label out of the Netherlands, and re-released in the US almost ten years later.
Looking for the Black Star was, as might be expected now, a somewhat avant-garde album, full of the pent-up yearning that the 35 year old Redman had collected over the previous years, working as a music teacher and studying Industrial Arts in college. Towards the end of 1959, Redman had moved to San Francisco, a musical choice resulting in an early collaboration with clarinetist Garrett.
Redman was well known around music circles for his collaborations with saxophonist Ornette Coleman, with whom he performed in his Fort Worth high school marching band. He later performed with Coleman from 1968 to1972; appearing on the recording New York Is Now! among others. He also played in pianist Keith Jarrett's “American Quartet” from 1971 to 1976, recording 12 highly influential albums, and winning Jazz Album of the Year by Melody Maker in 1978 for The Survivors' Suite.
In the mid-70s Redman formed the Quartet Old and New Dreams together with fellow Coleman-alumni Don Cherry Charlie Haden and Ed Blackwell. They recorded four albums in the period over ten years. Redman also performed and recorded as an accompanying musician with jazz musicians who performed in varying styles within the post-1950s jazz idiom, including drummer Paul Motian and especially guitarist Pat Metheny (80/81 in 1980).
Redman passed away in 2006 of liver failure. He is the father of Joshua Redman, the best-selling and critically acclaimed saxophone player who follows in his father’s footsteps. He was also survived by his other son Tariq, and by his wife, Lidija Pedevska-Redman.