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Deszon Claiborne

Berkeley welcomed her native son Joshua Redman home to Zellerbach Auditorium Saturday night.  Joshua has become the preeminent tenor saxophonist of his generation, and the sold out crowd was wildly enthusiastic.  The son of the legendary saxman Dewey Redman and the dancer Renee Shedroff, he grew up listening to the music of his father, and also to John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Cannonball Adderley, as well as The Beatles, Motown, Led Zep, and The Police.  While he played in the Berkley High School Jazz Ensemble until his graduation in 1986, he never intended to be a professional musician, and graduated from Harvard summa cum laude with a degree in social studies.  Taking a year off before law school, he fell into the New York jazz scene, and won the Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition.  Voila, a career was born.  He began to tour and record with his father, and Jack DeJohnette, Charlie Haden, Elvin Jones, Pat Metheny, and Paul Motian, among many others.  This quartet has performed together off and on since 1998, and is beautifully locked in and intuitive. Pianist Aaron Golberg also graduated magna cum laude from Harvard with degrees in science and history.  As with Joshua, music won out, and he began touring with Tom Harrell and Freddie Hubbard.  Reuben Rogers is a marvelous electric and acoustic bassist, with influences from jazz to calypso from his native Virgin Islands, to reggae and gospel.  Like all great bass players he both propels the group rhythmically, while tying the soloists melodic flights harmonically, and making sure everything makes sense.  Drummer Gregory Hutchinson (along with my own dear Deszon Claiborne) is one of the finest straight ahead drummers of his generation, and can swing from post bop to funk and back in a few bars while maintaining monster grooves.  A supposed music business heavy assured me years ago that improvisation was dead, and that young people were not going to be interested in listening to musicians "winging it".  I knew he was wrong, and that that there will ALWAYS be an audience for the excitement and mystery of spontaneous creation.  A modern quartet that also channels the tradition, the encore was Star Dust.    



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