Making a welcome return to Cork last Friday was acclaimed American saxophonist Joshua Redman who, along with bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Chris Hutchinson, delivered a polished performance to the delight of a near-capacity audience at Triskel Christchurch.
An imposing figure on stage, Redman — literally tall, dark, handsome and looking a lot younger than his 43 years — proved to be a generous leader. There were a number of slow-burning solos where he took a step back from the limelight and allowed the brilliant Rogers to strut his stuff almost, but not quite, to the extent of stealing the show, such was his virtuosity on the double bass. Hutchinson on sticks was no clang-a-lang man either, and from the opener, Hutchhiker’s Guide, it was evident the trio was enjoying its whistle-stop Irish tour.
Redman, favouring a soprano saxophone — on an intro with an almost classical treatment, flavoured with a sprinkling of Eastern promise — played the beautiful homage to his mother, entitled Zarafah. It must have been the best tune on the night — again Rogers’ beating-heart bass adding the gentlest of pulses.
The trio minus the ivories can be a tough environment for any sax player, but Redman rose to the challenge, using all the skills he has acquired while playing with some of the best musicians on the planet over the past 20 years. Indeed, his reading of Joe Lovano’s Blackwell’s Message vied with Zarafah for the best on the night, but as we left the warmth of Christchurch after 92 minutes and were met by the autumnal chill, there was more than a whisper in favour of the trio’s stellar storytelling on Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust.
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