Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Donald Matthew Redman (July 29, 1900, Piedmont, West Virginia - November 30, 1964, New York) was an American jazz musician, arranger, and composer.
Redman was born in Piedmont, West Virginia. His father was a music teacher, his mother was a singer. Don began playing the trumpet at the age of 3, joined his first band at 6 and by age 12 he was proficient on all wind instruments ranging from trumpet to oboe as well as piano. He studied at at Storer's College in Harper's Ferry and at the Boston Conservatory, then joined Billy Page's Broadway Syncopaters in New York City.
In 1923 Don Redman joined the Fletcher Henderson orchestra, mostly playing clarinet and saxophones. He soon began assisting in writing arrangements, and Redman did much to formulate the sound that was to become big band Swing. (It's significant to note that with a few exceptions, Henderson really didn't start arranging until the mid 1930's.) Redman did the bulk of arrangements (through 1927) and after he left Benny Carter took over arranging for the band.
His importance in the formulation of arranged hot jazz can not be overstated; a chief trademark of Redman's arrangements was that he harmonized melody lines and pseudo-solos within separate sections; for example, clarinet, sax, or brass trios. He played these sections off each other, having one section punctuate the figures of another, or moving the melody around different orchestral sections and soloists. His use of this technique was sophisticated, highly innovative, and formed the basis of much big band jazz writing in the following decades.
In 1927 Redman joined the Detroit, Michigan based band McKinney's Cotton Pickers as their Muscial Director and Leader. He was responsible for their great success and arranged about half of their music (spliting the arranging duties with John Nesbitt through 1931). Redman was occasionally featured as their vocalist, displaying his humorous vocal style.
Redman then formed his own band (featuring, for a time, Fletcher Henderson's younger brother Horace on piano), which got a residency at the famous Manhattan jazz club Connie's Inn. Redman's band got a recording contract with Brunswick Records and a series of radio broadcasts. Redman's band was even featured doing the soundtrack of a Betty Boop cartoon ("I Heard") featuring Redman compositions. Notable musicians in Redman's band included Sidney De Paris, trumpet, Edward Inge, clarinet, and singer Harlan Lattimore, who was known as "The Colored Bing Crosby". On the side Redman also did arrangements for other band leaders and musicians, including Paul Whiteman, Isham Jones, and Bing Crosby.
In 1937, Redman pioneered a series of swing re-arrangements of old classic pop tunes for the Variety label. His use of a swinging vocal group (called "The Swing Choir") was very modern and even today, a bit usual.
In 1940 Redman disbanded his orchestra, and concentrated on freelance work writing arrangements; some of his arrangements became hits for Jimmy Dorsey, Count Basie, and Harry James.
Don Redman had a musical television show on the CBS network for the 1949 season. In the 1950s he was music director for singer Pearl Bailey.
In the early 1960s he played piano for the Georgia Minstrels Concert and soprano sax with Eubie Blake & Noble Sissle's band.
Don Redman died in New York City on November 30, 1964.
Posted by gigihong07 at 11:22 AM