Online since August 2002

Solid with no surprises

From the Autumn 2002 issue.

By Yaya3 (Sam Yahel, Joshua Redman and Brian Blade)

Loma Records: 2002

To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.

The disc's title and cover art might conjure images of a modern, mathematically precise, geometrical electronic form of jazz. But it's just some of that good old straight-ahead stuff, from Joshua Redman's new trio — Redman on saxes, Sam Yahel on B-3 organ and Brian Blade working the skins.

The band swings easy on the opener, Yahel's "Slow Orbit." Redman's sax sound is indeed a precision thing — tight lines, a crisp, forthright attack. And Yahel's backing B-3 and left hand bass are a subtle, cool breeze, while Blade — perhaps better known for his work with Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell — lays back rattling the window shutters.

All nine songs are member originals — five from Yahel, two each by Redman and Blade.

"Swithcblade" is a sizzler that allows a lot of room for Yahel's right hand, with Blade busy but imaginatively low-profile behind him. Blade's "The Spirit Moves On" has that feel of Coltrane reverence, with Redman sounding pensive, Getzian on his tenor before he switches moods by going to the soprano.

No big surprises here; nothing ground-breaking, just a solid, fluid, set of sax/organ/drums straight ahead jazz.

One would think Redman — after winning the Monk competition a decade ago — would stretch his chops a bit more, shade things toward the freer end of the spectrum. He is, after all Dewey Redman's son. The same Dewey Redman who has gone horn-to-horn with Ornette Coleman and given no ground ("New York Is Now." "The Science Fiction Sessions"), a guy who can go into orbit on four screaming notes.

For now, "Yaya3" is a fine set of straight-ahead jazz. But what might be really interesting is a D. Redman/J Redman CD.

Review by Dan McClenaghan. Dan is a writer living in Oceanside, Calif. Read his biography on his AllAboutJazz.com page.

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