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Joshua Redman Biography

Home > Music > R > Redman, Joshua > Biography

Genres: Jazz

Joshua Redman (born February 1, 1969) is an American jazz saxophonist and composer who records for Nonesuch Records. He won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition in 1991.

In 1991, he graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Social Studies from Harvard University, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa Society. He had already been accepted by Yale Law School, but deferred entrance for what he believed was only going to be one year. Some of his friends (former students at the Berklee College of Music whom Joshua had met while in Boston) had recently relocated to Brooklyn, and they were looking for another housemate to help with the rent. Redman accepted their invitation to move in, and almost immediately he found himself immersed in the New York jazz scene. He began jamming and gigging regularly with some of the leading jazz musicians of his generation.

Redman won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition in 1991, and began focusing on his musical career. Now fully committed to a life in music, Redman was quickly signed by Warner Bros. Records and issued his first, self-titled album in the spring of 1993, which subsequently earned Redman his first Grammy nomination.

Redman continued to develop his style throughout the 1990s, beginning with a sideman appearance on Elvin Jones' “Youngblood” alongside Javon Jackson (recorded at the Van Gelder Studio in April 1991), and following up with an appearance on his father Dewey's 1992 record “Choices.”

On his second album as a leader, “Wish,” he was joined by a notable lineup consisting of guitarist Pat Metheny, bassist Charlie Haden, and drummer Billy Higgins. He would later tour this album as The Joshua Redman Quartet, featuring Christian McBride in place of Charlie Haden.

He continued to work with various quartets, including one with pianist Brad Mehldau. He then formed a new trio with keyboardist Sam Yahel and drummer Brian Blade and debuted under the moniker Yaya3, producing one album under this name. The same group of musicians made up the core on Redman's 2002 “Elastic” album, before becoming known as the Joshua Redman Elastic Band. Redman has also appeared on recordings and in live performances with Chicago-based prog-rockers Umphrey's McGee.

In April 2007, Nonesuch released Redman’s first ever piano-less trio record, “Back East,” featuring Joshua alongside three bass and drum rhythm sections (Larry Grenadier & Ali Jackson, Christian McBride & Brian Blade, Reuben Rogers & Eric Harland) and three guest saxophonists (Chris Cheek, Joe Lovano and Dewey Redman). His January 2009 release, “Compass,” continued the trio tradition, and even included some tracks with a double-trio set-up, featuring saxophone, two basses, and two drummers.

Starting in late 2009, Joshua Redman began performing with a new collaborative band called James Farm, featuring pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Matt Penman, and drummer Eric Harland. They released their first, self-titled album in April 2011.