Open Spaces
Spool LINE 27

Regrettably Dewey Redman, who died in September at 75, was more recognized for his progeny (Young Lion son Joshua) and associates (members of Ornette Coleman’s quartet) than for his own considerable talents. Someone who tempered the tough Texas tenor saxophone tradition with cerebral resourcefulness and considered note placement, Redman’s mature style is attractively showcased on this live CD, recorded in Quebec City in 1999.

Here the transplanted Texan is integrated into the Québécois trio of alto saxophonist François Carrier, drummer Michel Lambert, and Ron Séguin or Michel Donato alternating on bass on three long improvisations. Integrated is the proper term, since Redman’s Tranesque cadences and foghorn-like squalls are no more prominent than Carrier’s higher-pitched line decorations, the steady clipping snare beats and pops from Lambert or the percussive textural patterning of the individual bassists.

Notwithstanding the CD’s title, there are few open spaces in this intense improvisatory cauldron. One highpoint is Séguin’s masterful pumps and guitar-like arpeggios convincingly complementing Redman’s fluttering double tonguing.

Fittingly, however, the definite climax is reached during the last few minutes of “With the Flow”, the final tune. Drawing on the interplay they’re exhibited earlier on, and buoyed by Lambert’s ferocious rolls and rebounds, the two saxophonists make definite contrapuntal statements during chase choruses. With the tenor saxophonist’s chunky overblowing contrasting nicely with the alto saxophonist’s writhing lyricism, the mixture assures reasoned improvised invention along with dollops of raw excitement.

Ken Waxman

CODA Issue 331