Dewey Redman

Walter Dewey Redman (May 17, 1931 – September 2, 2006) was an American saxophonist who performed free jazz as a bandleader and with Ornette Coleman and Keith Jarrett.

Redman mainly played tenor saxophone, though he occasionally also played alto, the Chinese suona(which he called a musette), and clarinet. His son is saxophonist Joshua Redman.

Redman was born in Fort Worth, Texas. He attended I.M. Terrell High School, and played in the school band with Ornette Coleman, Prince Lasha, and Charles Moffett. After high school, he briefly enrolled in the electrical engineering program at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama but became disillusioned with the program and returned home to Texas. In 1953, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Arts from Prairie View Agricultural and Mechanical University. While at Prairie View, he switched from clarinet to alto saxophone, then to tenor. After graduating, he served for two years in the U. S. Army.

After his discharge from the Army, Redman began working on a master’s degree in education at the University of North Texas. While working on his degree, he taught music to fifth graders in Bastrop, Texasand worked as a freelance saxophonist at night and weekends in Austin, Texas. In 1957, he graduated in Education with a minor in Industrial Arts. While at North Texas, he did not enroll in any music classes.

In 1959 he moved to San Francisco, resulting in a collaboration with clarinettist Donald Garrett.

Redman was best known for his 1968-1972 collaboration with saxophonist Ornette Coleman, with whom he had performed in his Fort Worth high school marching band. He also played in pianist Keith Jarrett‘s American Quartet (1971–1976). Jarrett’s The Survivors’ Suite was voted Jazz Album of the Year by Melody Maker in 1978. In the 1970s Redman formed the quartet Old and New Dreams with Don Cherry, Charlie Haden, and Ed Blackwell. They recorded four albums in the period to 1987.

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