Dewey Redman

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Dewey Redman
Redman at Moers Festival, Germany, June 2006
Redman at Moers Festival, Germany,
June 2006
Background information
Birth nameWalter Dewey Redman
Born(1931-05-17)May 17, 1931
Fort Worth, Texas, United States
DiedSeptember 2, 2006(2006-09-02) (aged 75)
Brooklyn, New York, United States
GenresJazz, avant-garde jazz, free jazz
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
InstrumentsTenor saxophone, alto saxophone, suona, clarinet
LabelsImpulse!, Black Saint, Galaxy, ECM
Associated actsOrnette Coleman, Keith Jarrett, Old and New Dreams, Don Cherry, Ed Blackwell, Charlie Haden, Pat Metheny

Walter Dewey Redman (May 17, 1931 – September 2, 2006)[1] 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.[2][3] 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.[4]

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, Texas and worked as a freelance saxophonist at night and weekends in Austin, Texas. In 1957, he graduated in Education with a minor in Industrial Arts.[5] While at North Texas, he did not enroll in any music classes.[6]

In 1959, he moved to San Francisco, resulting in a collaboration with clarinetist Donald Garrett.[5][7]

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.[8] 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.

Redman recorded as a sideman with Paul Motian and Pat Metheny. In 1981 he performed at the Woodstock Jazz Festival for the tenth anniversary of the Creative Music Studio. He was the subject of the award-winning documentary film Dewey Time directed by Daniel Berman (2001).

On February 19 and 21, 2004, he played tenor saxophone as a special guest with Jazz at Lincoln Center in a concert entitled "The Music of Ornette Coleman". Reviewing the performance, Howard Mandell wrote, "Redman, a veteran of Coleman's bands, played on 'Ramblin' and 'Peace', demonstrating more originality, maturity and conviction than anyone else on the bandstand."[9]

Redman died of liver failure in Brooklyn, New York, on September 2, 2006.[10] He is buried at the Calverton National Cemetery in Calverton, Suffolk County, New York.[11]

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Dewey Redman among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal Studios fire.[12]


Portrait by Gert Chesi (1986)

As leader[edit]

As Old and New Dreams[edit]

With Ed Blackwell, Don Cherry and Charlie Haden

As sideman[edit]

With Jane Bunnett

  • In Dew Time (Dark Light, 1988)
  • Radio Guantánamo: Guantánamo Blues Project, Vol. 1 (Blue Note, 2006)

With Ornette Coleman

With Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra

With Keith Jarrett

With Paul Motian

With Michel Benita

  • Preferences (Label Bleu, 1990)
  • Soul (Label Bleu, 1993)

With others


General references

  • In Black and White. A guide to magazine articles, newspaper articles, and books concerning Black individuals and groups. Third edition, Supplement. Edited by Mary Mace Spradling. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985
  • The Negro Almanac. A reference work on the Afro American. Third edition. Edited by Harry A. Ploski and Warren Marr, II. New York: Bellwether Co., 1976. Later editions published as The African-American Almanac
  • The African-American Almanac. Sixth edition. Detroit: Gale Research, 1994. Formerly published as The Negro Almanac
  • The African American Almanac. Eighth edition. Detroit: Gale Group, 2000. Formerly published as The Negro Almanac
  • The African American Almanac. Ninth edition. Detroit: Gale Group, 2003. Formerly published as The Negro Almanac
  • All Music Guide to Jazz. The experts' guide to the best jazz recordings. Second edition. Edited by Michael Erlewine. San Francisco: Miller Freeman Books, 1996
  • All Music Guide to Jazz. The definitive guide to jazz music. Fourth edition. Edited by Vladimir Bogdanov, Chris Woodstra and Stephen Thomas Erlewine. San Francisco: Backbeat Books, 2002
  • Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 13: September 1982 – August 1984. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1984
  • Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 18: September 1992 – August 1993 New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1993
  • Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 26: September 2000 – August 2001 New York: H. W. Wilson Co., 2001
  • Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 29: September 2003 – August 2004. New York: H. W. Wilson Co., 2004
  • Contemporary Musicians. Profiles of the people in music. Volume 32. Detroit: Gale Group, 2001
  • The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Third edition. Eight volumes. Edited by Colin Larkin. London: MUZE, 1998. Grove's Dictionaries, New York, 1998
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz. By Brian Case and Stan Britt. New York: Harmony Books, 1978
  • The Negro Almanac. A reference work on the Afro-American. Fourth edition. Compiled and edited by Harry A. Ploski and James Williams. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1983
  • The Negro Almanac. A reference work on the African American. Fifth edition. Detroit: Gale Research, 1989
  • The New Grove Dictionary of American Music. Four volumes. Edited by H. Wiley Hitchcock and Stanley Sadie. London: Macmillan Press, 1986
  • The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. First edition. Two volumes. Edited by Barry Kernfeld. London: Macmillan Press, 1988
  • The Penguin Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Edited by Donald Clarke. New York: Viking Press, 1989
  • Who's Who in America. 42nd edition, 1982–1983. Wilmette, IL: Marquis Who's Who, 1982
  • Who's Who in America. 43rd edition, 1984–1985. Wilmette, IL: Marquis Who's Who, 1984
  • Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. Ninth edition. Edited by Laura Kuhn. New York: Schirmer Books, 2001
  • The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. Edited by Barry Kernfeld. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994
  • The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. Second edition. Three volumes. Edited by Barry Kernfeld. London: Macmillan Publishers, 2002
  • ASCAP Biographical Dictionary. Fourth edition. Compiled for the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers by Jaques Cattell Press. New York: R.R. Bowker, 1980
  • Biographical Dictionary of Afro-American and African Musicians. By Eileen Southern. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1982
  • Biographical Dictionary of Jazz. By Charles Eugene Claghorn. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1982
  • The Encyclopedia of Jazz in the Seventies. By Leonard Feather and Ira Gitler. New York: Horizon Press, 1976
  • Who's Who in America. 59th edition, 2005. New Providence, NJ: Marquis Who's Who, 2004

Inline citations

  1. ^ "Jazz Police – Dewey Redman, an Enduring Original, 1931–2006". Archived from the original on October 29, 2006. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  2. ^ "Dewey Redman" (PDF). Texas State University–San Marcos. Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  3. ^ Litweiler, John (1994) [1992]. "Chapter 1". Ornette Coleman: A Harmolodic Life (paperback ed.). New York: Da Capo. pp. 27–30. ISBN 0-306-80580-4.
  4. ^ Ratliff, Ben (September 4, 2006). "Dewey Redman, 75, Jazz Saxophonist, Dies". Retrieved July 20, 2021 – via
  5. ^ a b Obituary: Dewey Redman Dies, Down Beat, September 5, 2006
  6. ^ University of North Texas Registrar Records
  7. ^ Redman, Dewey (Walter) at
  8. ^ "Dewey Redman Biography". Musician Guide. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  9. ^ "Jazz At Lincoln Center Vs. Ornette Coleman : Features : One Final Note". Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  10. ^ Fordham, John (October 3, 2006). "Obituary: Dewey Redman". The Guardian. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  11. ^ "Dewey Redman (1931–2006)". Find a Grave. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  12. ^ Rosen, Jody (June 25, 2019). "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire". The New York Times. Retrieved June 28, 2019.

External links[edit]