MoodSwing, the 1994 album by Joshua Redman’s first permanent quartet, was an astonishing collection by four precociously talented musicians who would rapidly establish themselves as creative beacons. After years of individual triumphs, saxophonist JOSHUA REDMAN, pianist BRAD MEHLDAU, bassist CHRISTIAN McBRIDE, and drummer BRIAN BLADE have reunited on the Nonesuch album RoundAgain and now, for A MoodSwing Reunion live in concert on the Orchestra Hall stage, in one performance only, Wednesday, April 20 at 8pm as part of the popular Symphony Center Presents Jazz series.
Redman remembers what he describes as “a hodge-podge of gigs” that followed his victory in the 1991 Thelonious Monk Institute International Saxophone Competition, leading to his first permanent touring quartet. McBride, who had also quickly established himself as a dynamic young talent, participated in some of Redman’s earliest recordings and live sets. Blade met Redman in New Orleans in 1990 and came aboard for the saxophonist’s first tour as a bandleader. Mehldau, whose 1992 working trio supported Redman for several nights at the Village Vanguard, joined the others just in time for the quartet’s appearance at the 1993 Newport Jazz Festival. Over the next year and a half, the Joshua Redman Quartet toured widely, recorded MoodSwing and gave the ever-searching leader exactly what he was looking for.
The current RoundAgain sessions underscored how magical the foursome remains. “We rehearsed for one afternoon, did two nights at The Falcon in Marlboro, NY, and then went into the studio,” Redman reports. “And as soon as we started playing, the magic was still there.”