Preview: Joshua Redman stays true to acoustic roots

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As an acoustic jazz musician, Joshua Redman never worries about changing styles to suit an audience. And he's grateful for that, because, he notes, "Jazz has never been a commercial music."

Joshua Redman Quartet
Where: Manchester Craftmen’s Guild, North Side.
When: 7 (sold out) and 9:30 p.m. Saturday.
Tickets: $55; 412-322-0800 or

The saxophonist, who released his most recent album, "Walking Shadows," in May, brings his quartet to the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild Jazz Concert Hall for two shows on Saturday. And in that context you see the true Joshua Redman.

"Usually I tour because that's what I do; [playing live] is what I live to do," he says. "I love making records, but I would do that even without putting out records. I'm fortunate that I make records and the records I want to make."


Although Mr. Redman, a native of Berkeley, Calif., who still lives there, had performed in the Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble and Combo and his late father, Dewey, was also a well-known saxophonist, he never considered following in his father's footsteps as a musician. In fact, after graduating from Harvard he had planned to enter Yale's law school but decided to take a year off to live in New York at the invitation of friends.

And that changed his career goals.

"For the first time I found myself around music," Mr. Redman says. "Within six months I found myself able to play with master musicians."

In that time he worked with Pat Metheny, Charlie Haden, Christian McBride, Billy Higgins, Jack DeJohnette, Roy Haynes, Paul Motian and Clark Terry. In 1991 he won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition, and from 2000-07 he was part of SFJAZZ Collective, named for a nonprofit jazz organization in the Bay Area.

So much for law school -- by Mr. Redman's reckoning, "The music was a glorious accident."

Mr. Redman didn't live with his father growing up, but from a musical perspective he took from his dad "a deep and soulful sound -- I learned that sound comes first."

On Saturday, his quartet will include pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Gregory Hutchinson.

"We'll play some music from the new record but a lot of other sorts of music. I love all kinds of music," he adds, but says that acoustic jazz "is the bread and butter of what I do."

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