WHILE M.D. CARNEGIE’S recent assessment of tenor saxophonist (“possibly the greatest tenor saxophonist since Sonny Rollins”) Joshua Redman (Music,12/3) will look pretty damn good among his ever-growing mountain of clippings, I think it is a tad too premature to spout forth such an accolade. For while Redman is a more than technically and emotionally competent player, what Carnegie sees as his ability to summon the entire history of the instrument in a single chorus is, I think, the aural equivalent of someone still searching the radio and/or television for something they are comfortable with. I also think the “respect for one’s elders” Carnegie cites in reference to Ahmad Jamal should be extended to Joshua’s dad, Dewey, a more than passably gifted tenor man himself.
As for the comments regarding drummer Billy Higgins, Carnegie would have better served his piece had he limited his criticisms to Higgins’ work on Wish. If this is the extent of M.D.’s Higgins experience, I’d more than recommend (for starters) the newly released Ornette Coleman box set, Beauty Is a Rare Thing.