Critic's Choice: Joshua Redman | EW.com

Music

Critic's Choice: Joshua Redman

Saxophonist branches out from just jazz in his new album ''Freedom in the Groove''

Five years ago, saxophonist Joshua Redman was the new poster boy for straight-ahead jazz. But with Freedom in the Groove (in stores this week), Redman is ready to bust down the walls of that comfort zone. Adding a guitarist to his crack band, Redman uses the new album to explore the groove. The rhythms are funkier, the saxophone tones are blatantly roughed up, the licks announce their R&B origins, and the overall mood mixes the soulful with the sultry. ”If you listened closely to my sound,” Redman says, ”you’d know that I’m as influenced by Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and Prince as I am by Sonny Rollins, Charlie Parker, and Ornette Coleman.”