For tenor saxophone legend Joshua Redman, jazz music and the improvisation that goes along with it is still an “adventure,” one he feels particularly fortunate to be on. The saxophonist will be making a relatively rare stop in Santa Barbara on the evening of November 12 at the Lobero Theatre, during which he will be accompanied by pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Reuben Rogers, and drummer Gregory Hutchinson, his bandmates in the Joshua Redman Quartet. Playing with them for periods of varying consistency for upwards of two decades, the Joshua Redman Quartet served as Mr. Redman’s regular backup ensemble between the years of 1998 and 2001. Though he has frequently played with other groups since then, normal for a working jazz musician, since 2014 collaboration with the quartet that bears his name has gotten more regular.
“These are guys that I’ve been playing with off and on for more than twenty years and they’re some of my closest musical colleagues and friends,” Mr. Redman told the News-Press.
Calling jazz music “the heart and soul of what I do as a musician,” Mr. Redman said what he loves about the genre is perhaps its biggest cliché: “You never play a song the same way twice.” Referring to jazz improvisation as an “adventure” a few times during his conversation with the News-Press, the saxophonist also likened the music he plays as having a conversation. When asked about how a jazz musician seamlessly transitions between his and his bandmates’ improvisational passages without stepping over each other, the saxophonist said it’s ultimately all down to keen listening. While they do play over song forms with repeating chord sequences, the end of which may signify when a player’s solo ends, Mr. Redman said this isn’t always the case.
“There’s no hard and fast rule. It’s something you just learn by doing. It’s a language,” he said.
When it comes to composing jazz songs, Mr. Redman works with a different approach than he did in his younger days. Back then, his writing spells depended entirely on if he was inspired and had a musical idea that he felt was promising.
“I had to have a good idea whether that was a melody, harmony, or a baseline,” he said.
Though he doesn’t consider himself a prolific composer, Mr. Redman said what he has learned from the most productive songwriters is to simply write and not get hung up on forging a masterpiece.
He stated, “I’ve learned that the key to writing is just to start writing.”
While playing saxophone in general is a lifelong plan for Mr. Redman, his immediate plans come the turn of the decade include more performances with the Joshua Redman Quartet, playing with other ensembles, and working with the music department at Stanford University. When expressing his outlook on his musical career, now approaching nearly three decades in length, Mr. Redman mentioned the word “lucky” a few times.
“I’m lucky to be able to do this for a living,” he said.Tickets for Mr. Redman’s November 12 performance can be purchased online at www.lobero.org. The performance begins at 8 p.m. at the Lobero Theatre, located at 33 E Canon Perdido St.