Joshua Redman :: Biography

Joshua Redman was born February 1, 1969, in Berkeley, California In 1991. His father was jazz saxophonist Dewey Redman.

He was exposed to many kinds of music at the Center for World Music in Berkeley, where his mother, dancer and librarian Renee Shedroff, studied South Indian dance. Some of his earliest lessons in music and improvisation were on recorder with gamelan player Jody Diamond. He was exposed at an early age to a variety of musics and instruments and began playing clarinet at age nine before switching to what became his primary instrument, the tenor saxophone, one year later. Redman cites John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Cannonball Adderley, his father Dewey Redman, as well as the Beatles, Aretha Franklin, the Temptations, Earth, Wind and Fire, Prince, the Police and Led Zeppelin as musical influences.

He graduated from Berkeley High School, class of 1986, after having been a part of the award-winning Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble for all four years of high school.

In 1991, he graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Social Studies from Harvard University, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa Society. He had already been accepted by Yale Law School, but deferred entrance for what he believed was only going to be one year. Some of his friends had recently relocated to Brooklyn, and they were looking for another housemate to help with the rent. Redman accepted their invitation to move in, and almost immediately he found himself immersed in the New York jazz scene. He began jamming and gigging regularly with some of the leading jazz musicians of his generation and that of his father, including Brad Mehldau, Peter Martin, Mark Turner, Peter Bernstein, Roy Hargrove, Christian McBride, Kevin Hays, Jorge Rossy, Pat Metheny, Charlie Haden and Billy Higgins, among others.

Redman won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition in 1991, and began focusing on his musical career. He was signed by Warner Bros. Records and issued his first self-titled album in the spring of 1993, which subsequently earned Redman his first Grammy nomination. He continued to develop his style throughout the 1990s, beginning with a sideman appearance on Elvin Jones' Youngblood alongside Javon Jackson, and following up with an appearance on his father Dewey's 1992 record Choices. On his second album as a leader, Wish, he was joined by a notable lineup consisting of guitarist Pat Metheny, bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Billy Higgins; this group then toured as The Joshua Redman Quartet, featuring Christian McBride in place of Charlie Haden. He continued to work with various quartets, including one with pianist Brad Mehldau until forming a new trio, Elastic, with keyboardist Sam Yahel and drummer Brian Blade. The trio debuted under the moniker Yaya3, producing one album under this name. The same group of musicians made up the core on Redman's Elastic album, before becoming known as the Joshua Redman Elastic Band. Some of his works were featured on The Weather Channel's Local on the 8s. Redman performed in a fictitious supergroup, "The Louisiana Gator Boys", in the 1998 film Blues Brothers 2000, performing on "How Blue Can You Get?" and "New Orleans."

In 2000, Redman was named Artistic Director for the Spring Season of the non-profit jazz-presenting organization SFJAZZ. Redman and SFJAZZ Executive Director Randall Kline created the SFJAZZ Collective, an ensemble distinguished by the creativity of its members and a primary emphasis on composition. In March 2007, Redman announced that he was taking a hiatus from both the SFJAZZ Artistic Directorship and the SFJAZZ Collective in order to focus on new projects.

In April 2007, Nonesuch released Redman's first ever piano-less trio record, Back East, featuring Joshua alongside three bass and drum rhythm sections (Larry Grenadier & Ali Jackson, Christian McBride & Brian Blade, Reuben Rogers & Eric Harland) and three guest saxophonists (Chris Cheek, Joe Lovano and Dewey Redman). His January 2009 release, Compass, continued the trio tradition, and even included some tracks with a double-trio setup, featuring saxophone, two basses and two drummers.

Starting in late 2009, Redman began performing with a new collaborative band called James Farm, featuring pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Matt Penman and drummer Eric Harland. They released their first self-titled album on April 26, 2011 and their follow-up album "City Folk" on October 27, 2014.

Redman was also an inaugural member of the Independent Music Awards' judging panel to support independent artists.

In early 2013, it was announced that Redman would release a new collection of vintage and contemporary ballads featuring a jazz quartet and an orchestral ensemble titled Walking Shadows. Produced by Redman's friend and frequent collaborator Brad Mehldau, the album also features Larry Grenadier (bass) and Brian Blade (drums). It was released on May 7, 2013 on Nonesuch.

In 2015, Redman received his third Grammy nomination for his solo on "Friend or Foe" from the album The Bad Plus Joshua Redman.

In addition to his own projects, Redman has recorded and performed with musicians such as Brian Blade, Ray Brown, Dave Brubeck, Chick Corea, The Dave Matthews Band, Jack DeJohnette, Bill Frisell, Aaron Goldberg, Larry Goldings, Charlie Haden, Herbie Hancock, Roy Hargrove, Roy Haynes, Billie Higgins, Milt Jackson, Elvin Jones, Quincy Jones, Big Daddy Kane, Geoff Keezer, B.B. King, The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Letieres Leite & Orkestra Rumpilezz, DJ Logic, Joe Lovano, Yo Yo Ma, Branford Marsalis, Christian McBride, John Medeski, Brad Mehldau, Pat Metheny, Marcus Miller, Paul Motian, MeShell Ndegeocello, Leon Parker, Nicholas Payton, John Psathas, Simon Rattle, Dewey Redman, Dianne Reeves, Melvin Rhyne, The Rolling Stones, The Roots, Kurt Rosenwinkel, John Scofield, Soulive, String Cheese Incident, Clark Terry, Toots Thielemans, The Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, Mark Turner, McCoy Tyner, Umphrey's McGee, US3, Bugge Wesseltoft, Cedar Walton, Stevie Wonder, and Sam Yahel.


(Releases on Warner Bros. and after 2002 on Nonesuch Records)

1993: Joshua Redman
1993: Wish
1994: Moodswing
1995: Spirit of the Moment - Live at the Village Vanguard
1996: Freedom in the Groove
1998: Timeless Tales for Changing Times
2000: Beyond
2001: Passage of Time
2002: Elastic
2005: Momentum
2007: Back East
2009: Compass
2013: Walking Shadows
2014: Trios Live