Once a month I will include a tune composed and performed by Ben Wendel and a guest. He started the series with one of my favorite piano players, Taylor Eigsti and goes on with the great Saxophonist Joshua Redman.
On his website, Ben writes:
Joshua Redman is one of my all-time favorite saxophonists and artists. I listened to his first album “Wish” with Charlie Haden, Pat Metheny and Billy Higgins countless times in college, and became a lifelong fan. To me his playing is an inspiring combination of joy and freedom coupled with complexity.
As the years have passed, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet Josh and to get to know him better as an artist and a human. He has a genuine and intense curiosity for the musician’s process and is always checking out new folks on the scene, sharing his time with younger generations & looking for new ways to grow. In spite of his busy touring life, he always been incredibly generous with advice. Just to mention one example, he helped guide my search for the saxophone I currently play.
The inspiration for the February piece is both technical and musical. The former comes from literal elements in Josh’s playing – specifically, his amazing altissimo and ability to leap around effortlessly from the bottom to the top range of the horn. I also wanted the piece to reflect the playful quality I associate with Josh, and I tried to capture some of that essence in the writing.
It goes without saying I’m incredibly thankful to have had the chance to honor Josh’s artistry with this composition.
We recorded the piece in a beautiful private performance venue in Berkeley – the Maybeck Recital Hall. This space is a saxophonist’s dream and I’m very grateful to the current owner for allowing us to use the space!
For more about Joshua: www.joshuaredman.com