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Joshua Redman, Beyond (73:38)
Warner Bros. 47465-2, 2000

Joshua Redman debuts a new quartet on this formidable set of 
originals. Pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Reuben Rogers, and drummer 
Gregory Hutchinson quickly establish themselves as a killer unit on 
"Courage (Asymmetric Aria)" and "Belonging (Lopsided Lullaby)", two 
fast and busy odd-metered romps. Interestingly, Redman plays alto on 
the latter, as well as on the gripping "Stoic Revolutions." 
Goldberg's solos are sparkling throughout, especially on "Courage" 
and the medium-fast "Last Rites of Rock 'n' Roll." Fellow tenorman 
Mark Turner sits in for the lively "Leap of Faith." The remaining 
tracks range from the inspired balladry of "Neverend" to the 
ineffable hipness of "Suspended Emanations."

Although it is probably Redman's finest album to date, Beyond still doesn't rise to the level of true greatness in the field of composition. It would be hard for even a genius to measure up to the industry hype that has surrounded Redman for nearly a decade. But this makes it even more essential that critics evaluate Redman's work just as they would that of any other brilliant and hard-working, yet far more obscure, figure on the scene. This is not to take anything away from Redman, but rather to keep matters in their proper perspective. We might see Redman's face on far more magazine covers, but is his writing better than, say, Reid Anderson's or Patrick Zimmerli's? I think Redman himself would be the first to say no. ~David R. Adler

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