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Joshua Redman (b. 1969) is all-the-rage in jazz circles today. His innovative take on jazz standards and pop tunes as well as his mastery of improvisation justify his meteoric rise to stardom as one of the best soprano and tenor saxophone players around (flute, too).

Maybe it is in the genes. He is the son of well-established sax player Dewey Redman. Maybe it's the brains -- he graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University. In any case, even in his early 30's he has recorded over half a dozen albums as a leader, plus more as a sideman. Although he is often compared to his contemorary James Carter (and seemingly preferred over Carter by the recording industry) their sounds and ideas are quite different.

With regards to his musical choices, he says that he is "Preserving his roots, while extending his branches." * I saw the young sapling four years ago in Boulder, CO on a pre-date date with my future wife, and he gave a very solid performance. I can't speak for all of his original compositions, but at least the ones on his album Freedom in the Groove are very fresh with ideas and provide excellent platforms for his improvisation.

*Quote from Rough Guides biography at amazon.com.

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