The eleventh Glasgow International Jazz Festival looks set to be a humdinger. Over ten days
Glasgow International .Jazz Festival
it offers the wildest jazz from around the world. We bring you the festival's brightest stars.
Freedom in the grim
JOSHUA REDMAN is the most successful jazz musician to hit the scene since the advent of Wynton Marsalis, but he is staying focussed on the essentials. Words: Kenny Mathieson
Joshua Redman has impeccable jazz credentials — his father is saxophonist Dewey Redman. after all, and he grew tip with the music as a natural. even organic part of his life. His own meteoric rise through the jazz ranks has made him the most celebrated of the current generation of young jazz saxophonists.
He is unusual in jazz circles in recording for a major rock label. Warner Brothers. which carries only a token sprinkling ofjazz artists (Kenny Garrett and pianist Brad Mehldau. formerly of Redman’s band. are also on the label. although their records rarely receive a UK release). Warner was rewarded with sales in excess of a quarter of a million copies on his first two albums. Joshua Redman and Wis/z — modest in rock terms. but nudging the stratosphere for jazz.
‘l've been incredibly fortunate.‘ says Redman. ‘My career has progressed so rapidly, and I haven‘t experienced anything like the kind of hardships as a jazz musician that my predecessors did. My hardest knocks have been self-inflicted — it’s almost impossible for me to live up to my vision of what it takes to be a great jazz musician. When I’m playing, it’s pure joy. but when I listen to what I played. I’m real hard on myself.‘
With success. Redman has had to negotiate the music industry maze. with all its advantages and pitfalls.
'I haven't experienced anything like the kind of hardships as a jazz musician that my predecessors
Joshua Redman: sound without bounds
‘Your career is something over which you have
very little control. and other people have a lot of
control.’ he says. ‘When it comes to jazz. you have to separate the music from everything else. because the music business itself is completely volatile. It’s not a meritocracy.‘
The saxophonist is no down-the-line traditionalist. The title of his last album. Freedom In The Groove — his fifth for the label — suggested he was preparing for a lateral shift into a potentially even more lucrative dance arena. Jazz fans were not to be disappointed. though. The music took a funkier. marginally less straightahead jazz approach. but its free-flowing grace and energy placed the emphasis on the sense of freedom as much as the channel of the groove.
Redman is uncomfortable with categories and definitions. and views jazz not as a rigidly defined
influences and inspirations feeding into his music.
‘I see jazz as a living. breathing ele- ment in the musical spectrum.‘ he says. ‘If it comes to defining jazz. l have to say that I don't know what it is. and I don't really care. I use the word. so obviously there are things I would call jazz and things I wouldn‘t. but I wouldn‘t get into a fight about it.
‘lmprovisation is a big part of the meaning of
jazz for me. but it‘s not a historical artifact. it's a living style that moves you in the same way that classical. soul. hip hop or funk inspires you and satisfies your soul.‘
Joshua Redman is at McEwan's Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow, Fri 4 Jul, 10.30pm.
boundary. but as part of a much broader range of
The flip side
The things jazz people say when they’re feeling jive. . .
‘All music is folk music. I ain’t never heard no horse sing a song.’ Louis Armstrong sees off an interviewer probing the vexed question of whether or not jazz is folk music.
'Hell, man, nobody can hear you read.’
Piano virtuoso Erro/l Garner, defending his infamous inability to read music.
’It is this tendency to play with manic enthusiasm on every possible occasion that distinguishes the amateur jazz musician from the professional, often to the public detriment of the latter, who are regarded as snooty and unfriendly.’ Humphrey Lyttelton ponders the niceties of trad ’5 social etiquette.
'A rather bitter British musician once remarked sourly to a friend of mine: "Oh, all she knows about music she learned in bed with musicians." To that, I can only add, what better place to learn?’
Writer and photographer Val Wilmer plays a straight bat to the back-biters.
‘Any musician who says he is playing better either on tea, the needle, or when he is juiced, is a plain, straight liar.’
Charlie Parker tells it straight on drugs and music —- sad/y, nobody listened.
'I also learned a lot from him about dealing with people you didn't want around. You just tell them to get the fuck out of your face. That's it. Anything else is a waste of time.’
Miles Davis passing on a lesson in charm, learned from Billy Eckstine
'If I‘d known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.’
Ragtime pianist and gifted stage composer E ubie Blake, contemplating his 700th birthday
'I don't know about that, but Jesus, he can eat!’
Ellington ’s trombonist Tricky Sam Nanton, when asked by an interviewer if Duke was a genius.
Duke Ellington: genius of gastronomy
7—20 Mar l997 THE LIST 15