Joshua Redman – Wish (1993)

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by Nick DeRiso

To me, Redman is one of the more impressive young tenor players in recent memory.

His first record, a 1993 self-titled release, was a wonder. Even as he gripped the horn and took off into an improvisation, there was sure-footed instinct for melody.

Young Redman appeared to be something like a (dare i say it?) warmer, more tuneful Sonny Rollins.

Check that: “Wish,” Warner Bros., released later that same year and featuring guitarist Pat Metheny, rips that hypothesis to shreads. (The title track is a tune from “Joshua Redman,” included here in a version done live at the Village Vanguard.)

This recording is something like Redman’s degree in Ornette-thology. Also sitting in are thumpers Charlie Haden and Billy Higgins on bass and drums. They, along with Metheny, have all been associated with Ornette Coleman over the years.

“Wish” even blasts off with Coleman’s composition “Turnaround.”

Here’s where it really gets weird. Joshua’s father Dewey (like his son, a saxophonist) played with Coleman. Dewey was also on Metheny’s great “80/81” release on ECM … which featured a version of Coleman’s composition “Turnaround.”

Metheny, in fact, contributes much toward making “Wish” what it was: A bold new direction of Redman.

Redman seemed to have emerged already assured, and with his own voice. “Wish” proved that wasn’t entirely true — that Redman could still be taken to new plateaus when he’s roughed up by a great backing group.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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