Redman & Strings; Locke & The Blues
Creating his own take on the classic jazz-with-strings album was the initial impetus for Joshua Redman's "Walking Shadows", a collection of ballads, both vintage and contemporary, that can be as eloquently moody and restless in feel as they are hauntingly beautiful and serene. With his friend and frequent collaborator, the pianist Brad Mehldau, on board as producer, Redman has retooled a familiar formula. The concept serves as a starting point, as foundation and inspiration, for Redman's exploration of an ambitiously eclectic set of tunes performed in a variety of configurations. "There are six songs with strings, there are quartet songs, a couple of trio songs and a duo song," explains Redman. "We tried to explore a variety of instrumentation and textures in the course of making the record."
"Lay Down My Heart", the third release from the prolific vibraphonist Joe Locke since signing with Motema Records in 2012, is an album of blues and ballads. In Locke's words, "This music is meant to provide respite for folks who work hard every day and need an opportunity so slow down and be reacquainted with that certain 'something' which eludes most of us in the midst of the whirlwind which is modern life. There is no high concept here, just some songs pulled from a deep well, which will hopefully serve to feed the soul." Surrounding Locke in this endeavor are long-time collaborator and bassist David Finck, label-mate Ryan Cohan on piano, and drummer Jaimeo Brown, who played with another great vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson when he was just 19-years-old.
Also in the mix this week is percussionist Ian Dogle with his eighth release as a leader and his most ambitious and far-reaching project to date, the two-disc set "Outside the Box-Jazz Journeys and Worlds Beyond"; pianist Stephen Anderson and his trio are joined by saxophonist Joel Frahm on their third CD, "Believe"; and pianist Jay D'Amico offers up a program of original compositions on his latest quintet project, "Tango Caliente."