Double bassist Joshua Abrams provides the compositions for this studio album performed with Ari Brown on tenor sax, Jeff Parker on guitar and Gerald Cleaver on drums, an exceptional quartet of master improvisers who balance lyrical and soulful playing with explorative impulse, fueled by an empathetic responsiveness that only a long history of collaboration can engender.
Celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of its 1987 release, it's the ultimate collector's edition of The Joshua Tree. A live recording of The Joshua Tree Tour from Madison Square Gardens in 1987, b-sides from the original singles and new remixes from Daniel Lanois, St Francis Hotel, Jacknife Lee, Steve Lillywhite and Flood form part of this special edition of The Joshua Tree.
Nearness finds acclaimed jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman and pianist Brad Mehldau teaming up for a set of loose yet heartfelt duo performances. Collaborators since they first began playing together in Redman's quartet in the early '90s, Mehldau and Redman have forged their own distinct solo careers. While they have continued to work together in various settings, the duo put a spotlight on their creative friendship with their 2011 tour. Nearness features live performances captured during the European leg of that tour, including tapings in Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, and Norway. These are dazzlingly collaborative performances that reveal Redman and Mehldau to be a highly intuitive and harmonically adroit team.
Unusually the liner note deserves a mention ahead of the music: the fine pianist Jeremy Denk, half of this regular duo, manages to encapsulate the elusiveness of French romantic music with such insight in a few sharp sentences, his words almost shape the way we listen to this superbly played disc. Saint-Saëns' wistful and emotional Sonata No 1 and Ravel's bluesy, ironic sonata have a whipped, airy quality. Joshua Bell plays with fire and finesse, with Denk a powerful ally. Franck's dark-light violin sonata, mysterious, ardent and far more than the sum of its parts when played as majestically as here, forms the centrepiece of this seriously beguiling disc.
One of the most spectacular heroes of the Old Testament is Joshua, the successor to Moses, who caused the walls of Jericho to tumble down with that city's famous trombones. The Israelites' army conquered the promised land of Canaan under his leadership. This biblical story supplies the background to Handel's oratorio 'Joshua', premiered in 1748; it was supplemented by a love story involving the young captain, Othniel and Achsah, the daughter of an elder, by the presumed librettist, Thomas Morell. Thus the composer was able to include the entire spectrum of his musical expressivity: the magnificence of tympani and trumpets, joyful and jubilant choruses, virtuoso arias and moving love duets.