Redman back to find the moment
The Joshua Redman Quartet really kicks off the Agharta Jazz Festival
Posted: September 25, 2013
Courtesy Photo: © Jay Blakesberg
Joshua Redman is no stranger to Prague and is at a smaller venue this time with some old collaborators.
The opening night of this season's Agharta Jazz Festival in early September, with the young Swiss trio Vein, was a dud. The piano trio was a competent and innovative force, but the audience amounted to no more than 15, and it seemed like the majority were tourists who would have been in the house for any other band. One could even go so far as to call this a shame and scandal.
Or could it simply be that Prague, for a town its size, has too many jazz concerts nightly?
This should be clearer when Joshua Redman comes to town Oct. 3, as the real opener for the venerable Agharta Jazz Festival. This year's festival brings nine concerts over the next two months, and some may still be added. Of all the artists this season, Joshua Redman is the headliner.
Born in1969, Redman, still sees himself as an apprentice learning the trade, following his fundamental vision for jazz. "I'm still just trying to play, learn, grow, be in the moment," he told The Prague Post. "Since jazz is first and foremost about improvisation, or the improvisational spirit - play what you feel at the moment you feel it in a way that is honest, authentic and creative," Redman said.
When: Oct 3 at 9 p.m.
Where: Lucerna Music Bar
Tickets: 350 Kč
"And this is very important in a way that connects with the feelings of the other musicians you are playing with and the audience that is there listening and participating. Hopefully over the years, maybe I've just gotten a little better, or more consistent at doing it. I think my music has also hopefully gotten more mature, more subtle, more complex, and yet at the same time more focused and direct," he says.
He has played in Prague previously as headliner of even larger festivals including the Teachers Jazz Festival in 1995, and the Phillips Jazz Festival in 2005, with his Elastic Band. The latter was in the huge Prague Congress Center.
Compared to his previous Prague concerts, this will be the first chance to see Redman, one of the most acclaimed saxophonists on the contemporary jazz scene, in a much smaller venue, Lucerna Music Bar. He is touring to promote his 2013 recording "Walking Shadows," which was done with a string orchestra and his long-time collaborators Brad Mehldau on piano, Larry Grenadier on bass and Brian Blade on drums. Mehldau also produced this recording for Nonesuch Records.
For his current European tour, however, Redman will be with another lineup that he has recorded and toured with in the past, including bassist Rueben Rogers, percussionist Gregory Hutchinson and pianist Aaron Goldberg.
Since Redman will not be playing with new company for this tour, it should help him and the others get to that special place they seek in their performances, or, as Redman calls it, "the moment."
"If I can get to that real, honest, spontaneous place, that's the only way I'm going to make real honest, meaningful music," he said. "And that's the only music that will ultimately have any impact and stand the test of time. I suppose that's a certain irony or paradox of jazz. But that' s one of the things I love about jazz - it makes possible ideas, feelings and experiences that might seem at first seem logically contradictory or impossible."
Rogers and Goldberg recorded on Redman's earliest albums Beyond and Passage of Time, both from 2000, and Rogers returned for Redman's 2009 recording Compass. Rogers was last in Prague in the Charles Lloyd Quartet, since he has been touring and recording mostly with Lloyd these days. Meanwhile, drummer Hutchinson also played on Redman's Passage of Time and Compass and the three have played on each other's recordings as leaders of their own groups.
And now we'll see if Prague's jazz community will come out to at least support this one.
Tony Ozuna can be reached at
Tags: Jazz, Joshua Redman.