“Ornette’s music was and is revolutionary,” says Redman, who was born in 1969. “He had these incredible songs that implied certain harmonies and certain structures, but those harmonies and structures became completely malleable, to the point where when he and his musicians started improvising, they were playing without a preset grid.” Though Redman rose to prominence in the 1990s, a time when many young musicians on the scene were focused on more traditional ways of playing jazz, Redman always embraced the outer limits of the music’s improvisatory language.
“This is a band where we feel pretty comfortable with that language,” says Redman of his current quartet. “I love playing in situations that are really open. It allows for true collective improvisation. In a way, we may be trying to collapse the distinction between playing something that is formally ‘free’ and something that isn’t.”