Joshua Redman: where are we

Editor's Choice

Rating: ★★★★

Record and Artist Details


Peter Bernstein (g)
Joe Sanders (b)
Brian Blade (d)
Nicholas Payton (t)
Aaron Parks
Joel Ross (vb)
Gabrielle Cavassa (v)
Joshua Joshua Redman (ts)
Kurt Rosenwinkel (g)


Blue Note


Media Format:

CD, 2 LP, DL

Catalogue Number:



Rec. date not stated

The world-class jazz saxophonist-composer Joshua Redman’s debut for the Blue Note label also turns out to be his first ever vocal-based album - there are some instrumentals too, but the album is really centred on the song. Specifically songs about places in the United States. The broad yet well-defined selection of ballads to Andante shuffles come from the Greater (rather than just the Great) American Songbook. Bittersweet and elegiac, they evoke time and place while also signifying Redman’s joy that musicians are able to join together again in a physical space following the enforced isolation of the pandemic.

The New Orleans-based, Californian-bred vocalist Gabrielle Cavassa is quite a sensation, someone who sounds like she could have been influenced by Portishead’s Beth Gibbons as well as Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan. With only tiny exceptions she gives a warmly commanding and jazzily flexible performance. There’s also a close rapport with Redman on sax who plays an intimately interactive as well as more straight-forward accompanying role. On the politically-charged original ‘After Minneapolis’ he swings further out of his comfort zone but his cadenza-like intro seems to make a significant point.

A succinct, poignant bit of storytelling has him quoting protest singer Woody Guthrie’s ‘This Land is Your Land’, through slaloming phrases to eerily chilling overtones. Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Streets of Philadelphia’ is contrastingly given a cool blues-inflected trip hop-y makeover. Meanwhile the seamlessly organic interpolation of disparate songs, the highlight being Count Basie-meets-Sufjan Stevens on ‘Goin’ to Chicago’ is very 21st Century but works a treat, with vibraphonist Joel Ross tuning in perfectly to his own hometown country blues.

The delightful instrumental take, meanwhile, on the nu-folk singer-songwriter Gabriel Kahane’s ‘Baltimore’ recalls the pastoral style of Redman’s collaborations with pianist Brad Mehldau. What is something of a diversion for Redman turns into one of the unexpected big hits of 2023.

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