One thing I appreciate with jazz is the meeting of two great artists who mix their skills and musical landscapes to create new music together. You don’t see this as often in rock nor pop. Duets combine voices, but real blends are rare. Maybe Josh Homme playing with Iggy Pop is the recent exception that created something new, that wasn’t exactly either of them separately.

Jazz is a music genre that is based on exploration and experimentation. Many jazz musicians enjoy “confronting” (in a creative way) their style to another musician. The respect is usually very mutual and the audience can usually feel the fun these masters have to play together. There are great examples of awesome records that were made like this. “Beyond Missouri Sky” is the result of the beautiful meeting of late great bassman Charlie Haden and guitar maestro Pat Metheney. Probably my favorite album on which the American guitarist plays on. Their (musical) universes collide to create great music.

Joshua Redman is a musician that visibly appreciates to play with different people. He played with Brian Blade, The Bad Plus, and now with it’s time for pianist legend Brad Mehldau to play with the New York saxophonist. In the earlier stages of his career, his style was very spectacular and sometimes a bit overwhelming for listeners who weren’t into free jazz that much. But recently, the saxophonist has chosen collaboration that brought his music in calmer moods. Redman and Mehldau had been collaborators in the early 90s in the saxophonist’s quartet. The two friends toured together in 2011 and recorded these 6 songs featured on “Nearness”, released five years later, on Nonesuch Records. On Always August, both musicians take it easy and breeze though this Mehldau composition.


Later in this live show recorded in this European tour that brought them to Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany and Norway, Mehldau and Redman show a bit more acrobatics on In Walked Bud, a classic from Thelonious Monk. After exchaning solo parts, both explore creative grounds.

“Nearness” is an album that is easy to listen to even if you aren’t a jazz connoisseur. The absence of a rhythm section keeps the whole space wide open and perhaps easier for neophytes to focus on the two instruments and their dialogue.

Redman and Mehldau toured again together in 2016 to promote the album.

joshua redman brad mehldau nearness

(Nonesuch, 2016)

-Genre: smooth jazz

Listen and buy the album on Google Play
Follow the artists via their Facebook pages: Redman‘s and Mehldau‘s
Listen to videos on the label’s YouTube channel

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About The Author

Mélomane invétéré plongeant dans tous les genres et époques, Nicolas Pelletier a publié 6 000 critiques de disques et concerts depuis 1991, dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur, dont il a également été le rédacteur en chef de 2009 à 2014. Il publie "Les perles rares et grands crus de la musique" en 2013, lance le site RREVERB en 2014, et devient stratège numérique des radios de Bell Média en 2015, participant au lancement de la marque iHeartRadio au Canada en 2016. Il dirige maintenant la stratégie numérique d'ICI Musique, la radio musicale de Radio-Canada.