Saxophonist Joshua Redman enjoys the perks of leadership
LENOX — For jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman, there are several perks to being the leader of a band.
"Well, for one thing," he joked, "you're the guy who gets to count the tunes off."
Redman brings his quartet to the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center Sunday night. The other members include pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Gregory Hutchinson.
"We've been together on and off for about 12 years," he said. "We're all fully invested. My goal is to make sure the groups I lead are as leaderless as possible."
Redman explained that he has known Goldberg, Rogers and Hutchinson for well over two decades and "our comfort level with each other is pretty high."
Redman, 47, was born in Berkeley, Calif. to jazz saxophonist Dewey Redman and dancer Renee Shedroff. After high school, he attended Harvard University, graduating summa cum laude with a degree in social studies in 1991.
But, Redman admits, he was bitten by the music bug early in life. He eventually relocated to New York City after college and became involved in the jazz scene in that city.
"My earliest influences was listening to my father play," he recalled in a telephone interview. "And as I started becoming more interested in music, guys like John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderly. Stan Getz. Lester Young.
"But I think the performer who influenced me the most was Sonny Rollins," he continued. "Not just as a sax player, but as an overall influence.
"I remember listening to [Rollins album] 'Saxophone Colossus' and really, all of a sudden, I had an understanding of how powerful jazz music could be," he said. "It was really that quick and transformative."
Redman's Mahaiwe date is in the beginning stages of a national tour. His biggest job as leader, he said, was working out what Redman describes as the "tour logistics" with the rest of the band.
"Basically, we figure out what songs we played before, what songs we're going to play this time around," he said. "What new songs we're going to add to the set, how long the set ia going to be, things like that."
And, said Redman, in addition to all that, there is one more task.
"Yeah," he said. "I cut the checks, too. I can't forget that, because they won't."
Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251
Who: Joshua Redman Quartet with Aaron Goldberg, Reuben Rogers and Greg Hutchinson
When: 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, 14 Castle St., Great Barrington
How: (413) 528-0100; mahaiwe.org; Mahaiwe box office — 14 Castle St.
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