Although his career path initially pointed to a profession in law or possibly medicine, saxophonist Joshua Redman took a serendipitous detour toward jazz in his early 20s. Approaching his art form with the same sharp mind and sense of discipline required for his previous vocations, the saxophone sensation has played with everyone from Chick Corea to Yo Yo Ma, The Rolling Stones to Dave Brubeck. As a solo artist, his thoughtful improvisations and technical mastery are proof that this former "next big thing" is one of the top jazz musicians of his generation.
The son of saxophonist Dewey Redman, Joshua Redman was raised by his mother, Renee Shedroff, in Berkeley, California. As a child, he took Indian and Indonesian music lessons. Redman would often listen to recordings by his father, as well as those of Ornette Coleman and Sonny Rollins, and popular music artists like James Brown, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles. After learning to play the recorder and the piano, he picked up the tenor saxophone at age 10 and joined the Berkeley High Jazz Ensemble as a teenager.
In 1987, having graduated first in his class, the young musician headed east to pursue a degree in social studies at Harvard University. While there, he played in the school jazz band and took a few gigs during his senior year - Redman performed at the renowned Village Vanguard in the summer of 1990 alongside his father.
The following year, he graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. The gifted student decided to defer his acceptance to Yale Law School for a year to explore the fertile jazz scene in New York City. There, he concentrated all his time on music and was able to practice daily.
In November 1991, Redman entered the Thelonius Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition and won the top prize - one of the jazz world's most prestigious awards. A record deal with Warner Bros. and appearances on numerous music magazine covers soon followed, making the 22-year-old saxophonist a star.
Seven months later, Redman arrived at the Festival, playing as part of the Future Now! concert, which also showcased emerging jazz musicians Geoff Keezer on piano and Christian McBride on bass. Around that time, he appeared on his father's recording, Choices, and released his self-titled debut in 1993.
His follow-up, Wish, appeared that same year, pairing the "young lion" of jazz with guitar great Pat Metheny, bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Billy Higgins (the latter two being half of Ornette Coleman's seminal quartet). Redman returned to the Festival in 1994 under the banner "the new star of tenor sax."
By 2002, the prolific artist had released seven more albums. Around that time, he joined musical forces with keyboardist Sam Yahel and drummer Brian Blade on Yaya3, a bracing recording with improvisational touches that gave birth to the trio of the same name (which was rechristened the Joshua Redman Elastic Band soon after).
After signing with Nonesuch records, Redman released Momentum in 2005, assembling an eclectic roster of musicians including ?uestlove of The Roots, jazz guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and jazz-pop songstress Me'Shell Ndegeocello.
In 2009, for his eighth visit to the Festival, Redman treated fans to a trio of concerts, as part of the Invitation series. After taking the stage alongside such jazz luminaries as fellow saxophonist Joe Lovano, Redman offered festival-goers highlights from his recent release, Compass (2009). The saxophonist also joined forces with pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Matt Penman and drummer Eric Harland. Following this concert, the four jazzmen continued performing under the moniker James Farm. The quartet's first recording came out in 2011.
In May 2013, the saxophonist released his first orchestral jazz album, Walking Shadows, which was featured weeks later in his Festival performance at Maison symphonique de Montréal.