Joshua Redman/Sam Yahel/Brian Blade
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Between all the equipment and the makeshift tables crammed into every available space, there was barely enough room to move amidst NightTown’s already crowded environs, as this quaint little pub on the eastside of Cleveland is usually home to modest acoustic sets. It gave the term "standing room only" a new definition, as loyal fans packed both shows on the second of a two-night stand by saxophonist Joshua Redman and his latest experimental trio, a combustible unit featuring organist/keyboard artist Sam Yahel and drummer Brian Blade. Analogous to an incubator, where ideas are able to germinate and grow, this gig was one of only a handful of live dates that would serve to hone Redman’s latest compositions in preparation for a spring record date.
Far from the typical organ grinder format, this trio’s groove took things into the stratosphere, with each musician being so technically accomplished as to be able to execute anything that heart and mind dictated. Redman is even plugging into the electronics these days, sporting a hip amalgam that took on Eddie Harris inflections for "Molten Soul." Then on "News From the Front," he managed to sound like an entire saxophone section, delivering a collective slam that could only be described as Supersax meets James Brown. Clearly, Redman is coming into his own as a saxophonist and writer and in Yahel and Blade he's found able partners that bring his creative muse to life. Call it a meeting of giants.