Celebrating his birthday on February 1st, Joshua Redman, the acclaimed American jazz saxophonist, recently delighted his fans with the release of his album, “Where Are We,” in September 2023. This album marks a significant milestone in Redman’s career as it is his first studio album with the prestigious Blue Note label and his 16th release as a leader. Notably, “Where We Are” is also Redman’s first album to incorporate vocal elements, showcasing his versatility and willingness to explore new musical territories.
The album features the talented vocalist Gabrielle Cavassa, whose expressive and intimate vocal quality adds a unique dimension to the music. Redman’s collaboration with Cavassa was serendipitous, stemming from a recommendation by his manager who was captivated by Cavassa’s performance at an event in New Orleans. This collaboration symbolizes a new chapter in Redman’s musical journey, as he embraces the challenge of integrating a vocal component into his work.
“Where We Are” is described as a musical odyssey across the United States, with each track referencing a different city or geographic location. The album includes compositions by legends such as Woody Guthrie, Bruce Springsteen, Count Basie, and Jimmy Webb, reflecting a diverse blend of styles and influences. The track listing reveals a thoughtful selection of songs that offer a bittersweet exploration of American landscapes and experiences.
The personnel on the album includes a stellar lineup of musicians. Alongside Joshua Redman on saxophone, the album features Peter Bernstein and Kurt Rosenwinkel on guitar, Brian Blade on drums, Aaron Parks on piano, Nicholas Payton on trumpet, Joel Ross on vibraphone, and Joe Sanders on bass. Each musician brings their unique flair to the album, contributing to its rich and varied sonic palette.
Redman’s approach to this album was deeply influenced by the pandemic’s isolating conditions, which played a significant role in the creation of the music. The geographic themes in the album were partly born out of Redman’s own lockdown-induced wanderlust. The process of creating the album was unique, with much of the planning done virtually and the musicians not having played all together in the same group before the recording.
“Where We Are” has been well-received, with critics highlighting its high technical levels, broad stylistic references, and the subtle, bittersweet moods it encapsulates. The album reflects not only a celebration of gathering but also touches on the angst of separation.