If My Job Were to Make People Happy

Back East.jpg

Last night I went with some friends to hear the Joshua Redman Trio at the Festival de Jazz de Madrid 2007. Opening for Redman was a quartet lead by Carles Benavent. Benavent, a veteran who has played alongside Paco de Lucía and Jorge Pardo, was pretty good, but the contrast between the first and the second shows was enormous.

Within the first two seconds of the Redman team opening up, you could feel the incredible difference. I was watching the drummer, Greg Hutchinson, closely (who immediately reminded my of Elvin Jones) and thought: wouldn’t it be wonderful if your job was simply to go out and play with the sole purpose of making others (and yourself) happy with your artform?

I often think that Jazz has died out with a lack of a critical musical mass of musicians. Imagine the difference between the popularity of Jazz in 2007 and say the 1950s or 60s. Before you had so much competition amongst musicians to be masters of their instruments, while today we have the musically challenged hoping for quick pop stardom.

Last night, this was not the case. Redman’s trio had one of the best rythme sections I have ever heard live, composed of the aforementioned Greg Hutchinson on drums and Reubens Rogers on bass. Finally, Redman is an incredibly versatile saxophonist who can alternate between sounding like modern and sometimes funked-up versions of Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, and Stan Getz. My only slight criticism was that I preferred his versions of Jazz standards to his own original compositions from his new album Back East.

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