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Talkin Jazz with Freddie Redd, Jazz pianist & Living Legend

  • Broadcast in classical Music
George V Johnson Jr

George V Johnson Jr


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Since his emergence as composer of the score for Jack Gelber's harrowingly exact play, The Connection, Freddie Redd has finally been gaining some of the recognition that has eluded him for much of his playing career. Freddie also plays the taciturn pianist in the play with convincing effect. Although he hopes to work again in the theatre, Freddie remains essentially a jazz player-writer, and this album underlines his growth as a composer of vigorously expressive jazz originals. Freddie has been writing since he started playing. In both disciplines, he is largely self-taught. Born in New York, May 29, 1928, Freddie came of a moderately musical family. His mother sang in church, and still does; and his father, who died when Freddie was not yet a year old, had played piano. Unlike most professional jazzmen, Freddie didn't take up an instrument until quite late in his teens. Around 1946, when he was in the Army, Freddie began to pick up the piano on his own. After being discharged, he studied for a month at the Greenwich House Music School in New York, but he became so proficient through his own investigations that he left school to take his first professional job, a jazz gig in Syracuse. With him, by the way, was tenor saxophonist Tina Brooks. After Syracuse, he free-lanced in Harlem, especially in a sit-in room called Club Harlem where pay was small but the chance to learn before an audience and other musicians was extensive. Meanwhile, he was absorbing a number of influences. The first jazz record he recalls having had a sharp impact on him was the Charlie Parker--Dizzy Gillespie "Shaw' Nuff" to which he was exposed in the Army. Later, Freddie heard Bud Powell. "Bud really got me started. I'd never heard a pianist play quite like that--the remarkably fluent single lines and the pretty chords. In time, Thelonious Monk got to me too. Actually, however, I've been influenced by many things I've heard on a lot of instruments.