Joshua Redman, tenor sax; Aaron Goldberg, piano;
Rueben Rogers, bass; Gregory Hutchinson, drums.
There is a real sense of maturity on this release. The band is self assured and moves through the varied musical territory with ease. The opener, "Before," is a sax solo where Redman blows a stream of notes that expand and contract, yet always keep a melodic quality about them. This segues into "Free Speech, Phase One - Declaration," where the band is off and running. There is a cohesiveness to the ensemble's playing that allows Redman to let loose a wonderful solo. The rhythm section of Rogers and Hutchinson is tight, pushing the band along. Goldberg's solo dances on top of the bass and drums and the whole thing builds to a climax.
"Our Minuet" slows things down with Hutchinson taking up brushes. This ballad is lush without being overly sentimental. "Bronze" is propelled along with a driving rhythm. Redman's sound is both gentle and big at the same time. His notes seem to unfold like the pages of a good book. "Enemies Within" opens with sax and bass trading phrases until they intertwine and the band enters. Again, the tightness of the group allows for some wonderful interplay.
This is a set of well written and well played songs. The musicianship is uncompromising. Highly recommended.
by Michael Bettine
Jazz Now Interactive
Copyright Jazz Now, November 2002 issue, all rights reserved