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Dewey Redman

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Subject: Joshua Redman, Mark Helias, Old and New Dreams, Eyes of the Heart, Tani Tabbal
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Dewey Redman

Dewey Redman
Dewey Redman at Moers Festival, June 2006, Germany
Background information
Birth name Walter Dewey Redman
Born (1931-05-17)May 17, 1931
Fort Worth, Texas, United States
Died September 2, 2006(2006-09-02) (aged 75)
Brooklyn, New York, United States
Genres Jazz, post-bop, avant-garde jazz, free jazz
Occupation(s) Musician, composer
Instruments Tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, suona, clarinet
Labels Impulse!, Black Saint, Galaxy, ECM
Associated acts Ornette Coleman, Keith Jarrett, Old and New Dreams, Don Cherry, Ed Blackwell, Charlie Haden, Pat Metheny

Walter Dewey Redman (May 17, 1931 – September 2, 2006)[1] was an American jazz saxophonist, known for performing free jazz as a bandleader, and with Ornette Coleman and Keith Jarrett.

Redman played mainly tenor saxophone, though he occasionally doubled on alto saxophone, played the Chinese suona (which he called a musette) and on rare occasions played the clarinet.

His son is saxophonist Joshua Redman,[1] and he was the nephew of big band arranger Don Redman.


  • Biography 1
  • Discography 2
    • As leader 2.1
    • As sideman 2.2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Redman was born in Fort Worth, Texas. He attended I.M. Terrell High School, and played in the school band with Ornette Coleman, Prince Lasha and Charles Moffett.[2][3] After high school, Redman briefly enrolled in the electrical engineering program at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, but became disillusioned with the program and returned home to Texas. In 1953, Redman earned a bachelor's degree in Industrial Arts from Prairie View Agricultural and Mechanical University. While at Prairie View, he switched from clarinet to alto saxophone, then, eventually, to tenor. Following his degree, Redman served for two years in the US Army.

Upon his discharge from the Army, Redman began working on a master's degree in education at the University of North Texas. While working on his degree, he taught music to fifth graders in Bastrop, Texas, and worked as a freelance saxophonist at night and weekends around Austin, Texas. In 1957, he graduated in Education with a minor in Industrial Arts.[4] While at North Texas, he did not enroll in any music classes.[5]

Towards the end of 1959, Redman moved to San Francisco, a musical choice resulting in an early collaboration with clarinetist Donald Rafael Garrett.[4][6]

Redman was best known for his collaborations with saxophonist Ornette Coleman, with whom he performed in his Fort Worth high school marching band. He later performed with Coleman from 1968 to 1972, appearing on the recording New York Is Now!, among others. He also played in pianist Keith Jarrett's American Quartet (1971–1976), whose album The Survivors' Suite was voted Jazz Album of the Year by Melody Maker in 1978.[7] In the mid-70s Redman formed the Quartet Old And New Dreams together with fellow Coleman-alumni Don Cherry, Charlie Haden and Ed Blackwell. They recorded four albums in the period to 1987.

Redman also performed and recorded as an accompanying musician with jazz musicians who performed in varying styles within the post-1950s jazz idiom, including drummer Paul Motian and guitarist Pat Metheny. In 1981 he performed at the Woodstock Jazz Festival, held in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Creative Music Studio.

With a dozen recordings under his own name Redman established himself as one of the more prolific tenor players of his generation. Though generally associated with free jazz (with an unusual, distinctive technique of sometimes humming into his saxophone as he played), Redman's melodic tenor playing was often reminiscent of the blues and post-bop mainstream. Redman's live shows were as likely to feature standards and ballads as the more atonal improvisations for which he was known.

Redman was the subject of an award-winning documentary film Dewey Time (dir. Daniel Berman, 2001).[8]

On February 19 and 21, 2004, Redman played tenor saxophone as a special guest with Jazz at Lincoln Center, in a concert entitled "The Music of Ornette Coleman". Reviewing the performance, Howard Mandell, wrote: "Redman, a veteran of Coleman's bands, played on "Ramblin'" and "Peace", demonstrating more originality, maturity and conviction than anyone else on the bandstand."[9]

Redman died of liver failure in Brooklyn, New York, on September 2, 2006. He was survived by his wife, Lidija Pedevska-Redman, as well as sons Tarik and Joshua, who is also a jazz saxophonist. The father and son recorded two albums together.[10]


As leader

With Old and New Dreams

As sideman

With Jon Ballantyne

  • 4tets (Real Artist Works, 2000)

With Ed Blackwell

With Michael Bocian

  • Reverence (Enja 1994)

With David Bond

  • The Key of Life (Vineyard)

With Cameron Brown

  • Here and How! (OmniTone, 1997)

With Jane Bunnett

  • In Dew Time (Dark Light, 1988)
  • Radio Guantánamo: Guantánamo Blues Project, Vol. 1 (Blue Note, 2006)

With Don Cherry

With Ornette Coleman

With Anthony Cox

  • Dark Metals (Polygram, 1991)

With Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra

With Billy Hart

With Keith Jarrett

With Leroy Jenkins

  • For Players Only (JCOA, 1975)

With Pat Metheny

With Paul Motian

With Roswell Rudd & The Jazz Composer's Orchestra

With Clifford Thornton & The Jazz Composers Orchestra

  • The Gardens of Harlem (JCOA, 1975)

With Randy Weston

With Matt Wilson

  • As Wave Follows Wave (Palmetto, 1996)

With Dane Belany

  • Motivations (Sahara, 1975)

With Michel Benita

  • Preferences (Label Bleu, 1990)
  • Soul (Label Bleu, 1993)


General references

  • In Black and White. A guide to magazine articles, newspaper articles, and books concerning Black individuals and groups. Third edition, Supplement. Edited by Mary Mace Spradling. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985
  • The Negro Almanac. A reference work on the Afro American. Third edition. Edited by Harry A. Ploski and Warren Marr, II. New York: Bellwether Co., 1976. Later editions published as The African-American Almanac
  • The African-American Almanac. Sixth edition. Detroit: Gale Research, 1994. Formerly published as The Negro Almanac
  • The African American Almanac. Eighth edition. Detroit: Gale Group, 2000. Formerly published as The Negro Almanac
  • The African American Almanac. Ninth edition. Detroit: Gale Group, 2003. Formerly published as The Negro Almanac
  • All Music Guide to Jazz. The experts' guide to the best jazz recordings. Second edition. Edited by Michael Erlewine. San Francisco: Miller Freeman Books, 1996
  • All Music Guide to Jazz. The definitive guide to jazz music. Fourth edition. Edited by Vladimir Bogdanov, Chris Woodstra and Stephen Thomas Erlewine. San Francisco: Backbeat Books, 2002
  • Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 13: September 1982 – August 1984. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1984
  • Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 18: September 1992 – August 1993 New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1993
  • Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 26: September 2000 – August 2001 New York: H. W. Wilson Co., 2001
  • Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 29: September 2003 – August 2004. New York: H. W. Wilson Co., 2004
  • Contemporary Musicians. Profiles of the people in music. Volume 32. Detroit: Gale Group, 2001
  • The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Third edition. Eight volumes. Edited by Colin Larkin. London: MUZE, 1998. Grove's Dictionaries, New York, 1998
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz. By Brian Case and Stan Britt. New York: Harmony Books, 1978
  • The Negro Almanac. A reference work on the Afro-American. Fourth edition. Compiled and edited by Harry A. Ploski and James Williams. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1983
  • The Negro Almanac. A reference work on the African American. Fifth edition. Detroit: Gale Research, 1989
  • The New Grove Dictionary of American Music. Four volumes. Edited by H. Wiley Hitchcock and Stanley Sadie. London: Macmillan Press, 1986
  • The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. First edition. Two volumes. Edited by Barry Kernfeld. London: Macmillan Press, 1988
  • The Penguin Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Edited by Donald Clarke. New York: Viking Press, 1989
  • Who's Who in America. 42nd edition, 1982–1983. Wilmette, IL: Marquis Who's Who, 1982
  • Who's Who in America. 43rd edition, 1984–1985. Wilmette, IL: Marquis Who's Who, 1984
  • Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. Ninth edition. Edited by Laura Kuhn. New York: Schirmer Books, 2001
  • The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. Edited by Barry Kernfeld. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994
  • The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. Second edition. Three volumes. Edited by Barry Kernfeld. London: Macmillan Publishers, 2002
  • ASCAP Biographical Dictionary. Fourth edition. Compiled for the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers by Jaques Cattell Press. New York: R.R. Bowker, 1980
  • Biographical Dictionary of Afro-American and African Musicians. By Eileen Southern. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1982
  • Biographical Dictionary of Jazz. By Charles Eugene Claghorn. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1982
  • The Encyclopedia of Jazz in the Seventies. By Leonard Feather and Ira Gitler. New York: Horizon Press, 1976
  • Who's Who in America. 59th edition, 2005. New Providence, NJ: Marquis Who's Who, 2004

Inline citations

  1. ^ a b Jazz Police – Dewey Redman, an Enduring Original, 1931–2006
  2. ^ "Dewey Redman" (PDF).  
  3. ^ Litweiler, John (1994) [1992]. "Chapter 1". Ornette Coleman: A Harmolodic Life (paperback ed.). New York:  
  4. ^ a b Obituary: Dewey Redman Dies, Down Beat, September 5, 2006
  5. ^ University of North Texas Registrar Records
  6. ^ Redman, Dewey (Walter) at
  7. ^ Dewey Redman Biography – Discography, Music, Lyrics, Album, CD, Career, Famous Works, and Awards
  8. ^ Remembering Dewey Redman – Dewey Redman Memorial Info
  9. ^ "Jazz at Lincoln Center Faces the Music of Ornette Coleman" at
  10. ^ Obituary in The Guardian

External links

  • "Dewey Redman: The Sound of a Giant", from All About Jazz site
  • "Dewey Redman: an Enduring Original, 1931–2006", obituary in Jazz Police magazine, by Andrea Carter.
  • The Bad Plus obituary
  • Dewey Redman obituary from All About Jazz
  • [2], obituary in The New York Times by Ben Ratliff.
  • Dewey Redman Audio Interviews – Jazz History Database
  • Dewey Redman performance with Jazz at Lincoln Center
  • Dewey Redman tracks on YouTube
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