Eleven years and nine albums later, Joshua Redman, 33, finds himself in a familiar place — on the road. Keep watch for this talented tenor saxophonist (think Rollins and Coltrane) in a venue near you as he promotes Elastic, in which he sets aside his traditional swing-based rhythms to delve into funkier material. Before the show got on the road, he talked with us about the flow of the new album, his music, improv, inspiration, and all things jazz.
AW: Elastic flows nicely track to track — going from soft and subtle to upbeat and intense. Was this intentional?
JR: The opening is important and of course the ending is important, but to me, it’s really about getting that flow that will hopefully draw you in, keep you interested, and moving through the record in a natural and inspiring way.
AW: Is that what you hope people take away from the disc — inspiration?
JR: That’s what music is all about. I think it’s presumptuous for me to think that I can inspire everyone who listens to this music. But for me, music has always been a medium for expression and hopefully inspired self-expression on the part of the musicians.
AW: How much of Elastic is improv?
JR: I would say the bulk of it is — probably 90 percent. First of all, [improv] to me is what the heart and soul of jazz is. Creating melodies that have structure, direction, and meaning in the moment. That’s the challenge that we all face as jazz musicians.
— JAMES E. MAYFIELD