Genre: Jazz; Lead Performer: Joshua Redman

Not only do ?tenor saxo?phonist Joshua Redman and President Obama share an alma mater, they actually spent the same years (1988?1991) on the Harvard campus. Compass, Redman’s 14th disc, suggests another similarity: Both have added a youthful spark to ?venerable institutions and gracefully leapfrogged their peers. Still, this album is less focused than its predecessor, Back East. Redman employs two rhythm sections here, sometimes simultaneously in a chimeric “double trio” format. His tone carries the weight and grandeur of fine marble, but sometimes the disc’s lengthy array of tunescapes is a reminder that less is more. B+

Download This: Listen to songs from the new album on the artist’s MySpace

Originally posted January 21 2009 — 12:00 AM EST

More from Our Partners