Monday, March 12, 2007

Dewey Redman - The Struggle Continues (ECM, 1982)

Saxophonist Redman plots a fine line between mainstream jazz and more outer-music on this sadly out-of-print LP. Supported by a fine cast including pianist Charles Eubanks, bassist Mark Helias, and drummer Ed Blackwell, Redman sticks to tenor, leaving his more exotic reeds at home. The record opens with the fast tempoed "Thren" which sports a good free and exploratory tenor saxophone solo along with some jagged piano and a bass and drum interlude. "Love Is" mellows things out a bit as a sweet ballad with some nice unaccompanied saxophone passages and gentle piano. Side one is rounded out with the slow and steamy funk of "Turn Over Baby" which has a nice R&B flavor with bootin' tenor sax and grinding bass. Side Two begins with "Joie De Vivre," a good natured and gentle swinger with some fine piano and bass soloing. "Combinations" has strong, fast-paced quasi-free playing with some intense saxophone playing from the leader. Wrapping things up is the only non-original, Charlie Parker's "Dewey Square." The group lays into the bebop nugget with good interplay and a very solid bass solo. This is a very well played LP and shows many of the facets of Dewey Redman's talent. Blues, bop or free, he could do it all and hopefully this album will be reissued and gain the attention it deserves.

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