Posted by: Ian Briggs on 16th September 2012 at 10:08 am
Belfast’s newest venue, The MAC, played host to the Joshua Redman trio for the penultimate gig of their Irish tour featuring Joshua Redman on tenor and soprano saxophones, Reuben Rogers on bass and Gregory Hutchinson on drums.
The trio performed a wide range of music including original jazz compositions, rock, funk and classical, all blended beautifully into Redman’s free-flowing style; definitely the widest range of repertoire of any small group gig I’ve seen.
As well as a cover of Led Zeppelin’s The Ocean, another standout piece was a version of Riddle Me This, a stunning jazz-funk piece written by pianist Aaron Parks, a great blog of which can be read here. A YouTube video of this fascinating piece is also embedded below.
The group didn’t suffer from the lack of piano as I thought it might; this was the first trio gig I had been to, but the sound still had rich harmony and a full texture, thanks in part to an extraordinary rhythm section. Hutchinson on drums especially was working overtime, using all manner of techniques to fill the room with sound.
Redman’s playing was intense and energetic, using all of his body in a real physical performance. His soloing was, at times, reminiscent of a mathematician explaining the theory behind the conservation of angular momentum, or deriving some complex equation from first principles (but then I’m interested in stuff like that); he has an incredibly intellectual approach to improvisation, where you can almost hear him working out where his music is going – there was a complexity and structure to the sound that was very well thought out. His sound, particularly on tenor, was incredibly smooth, rich and velvety; one of those rare players that has a real ability to create a creamy tone full of colour.
It was a great performance and was also the first gig i have been to for which I can thank last.fm – this is how I came to hear of Joshua Redman a few years ago.