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Dewey Redman

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One of the great avant-garde tenors, Dewey Redman has never received anywhere near the acclaim that his son Joshua Redman gained in the 1990s, but ironically Dewey is much more of an innovative player. He began on clarinet when he was 13 and played in his high school marching band, a group that also included Ornette Coleman, Charles Moffett, and Prince Lasha. Redman was a public school teacher during 1956-1959 but, after getting his master's degree in education from North Texas State, he moved to San Francisco where he freelanced as a musician for seven years; Pharoah Sanders was among his sidemen. All of this was a prelude to his impressive association with the Ornette Coleman Quartet (1967-1974), during which Redman's tenor playing was a perfect match for Ornette's alto. Redman could play as free as the leader but his appealing tone made the music seem a little more accessible. He also worked with Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra and was an important part of Keith Jarrett's greatest group, his quintet of the mid-'70s. Redman guested on Pat Metheny's notable 80/81 album and teamed up with Don Cherry, Charlie Haden, and Ed Blackwell in the Ornette Coleman reunion band called Old and New Dreams. Despite all of this activity and plenty of recordings (including occasional ones as a leader), Dewey Redman has yet to be fully recognized for his innovative talents. ~ Scott Yanow

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Birth Name:

Walter Dewey Redman


May 17, 1931 in Fort Worth, TX

Years Active:

'60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s


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