Freddie Redd, Jazz Pianist and Composer, Is Dead at 92

Freddie Redd, Jazz Pianist and Composer, Is Dead at 92


Freddie Redd, a pianist and composer who launched a pair of well-received albums for Blue Notice Data within the early Nineteen Sixties, then spent greater than half a century bouncing by means of completely different cities as an envoy of jazz’s golden age, died on March 17 at a care facility in Manhattan. He was 92.

His grandson Leslie Clarke stated he had died in his sleep, however didn’t give a trigger.

Mr. Redd is finest recognized for writing the music for “The Connection” (1959), an Off Broadway play by Jack Gelber that depicted the lives of heroin-addicted musicians in New York, and that two years later grew to become a famend movie directed by Shirley Clarke. Mr. Redd appeared in each.

Largely self-taught, Mr. Redd was significantly recognized for his compositions and for his talent as an accompanist. Even when he was the one soloing, his left hand’s roving chords had been usually as wealthy as his proper hand’s improvised strains.

“The Music From ‘The Connection,’” launched in 1960, was Mr. Redd’s first album for Blue Notice; it was adopted in 1961 by the equally acclaimed “Shades of Redd,” which featured an all-star band: the alto saxophonist Jackie McLean (who was additionally in “The Connection”), the tenor saxophonist Tina Brooks, the bassist Paul Chambers and the drummer Louis Hayes.

He recorded one other album’s value of fabric in 1961, however these tapes had been shelved after Mr. Redd had a falling-out with certainly one of Blue Notice’s founders, Alfred Lion. It was lastly launched as “Redd’s Blues” in 1988. His studio profession slowed down, and by the mid-Nineteen Sixties he had moved to Europe, the place for audiences his presence grew to become symbolic of a vanishing halcyon age in small-group jazz.

A local New Yorker, Mr. Redd did the inverse of the pilgrimage made by most main jazz musicians: He began his profession on the heart of the jazz universe, then moved out. And moved, and moved once more.

From the mid-’60s on, he would spend stretches in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Paris, London, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Guadalajara, Baltimore and Carrboro, N.C. In his 80s he returned to New York, the place he recorded two albums for the SteepleChase label and spent his closing years.

Mr. Redd told The New York Times that his peripatetic profession had offered him artistic satisfaction,  if not all the time honest pay.

“I like to maneuver round,” he stated in a 1991 interview. “It’s all the time refreshing since you don’t know the nuances, the methods of the brand new place. Sadly, the value I’ve paid for being a maverick resides a way of life that hasn’t been significantly supportive. However I don’t have regrets. There’s so much on the market to search out out about, and generally you may’t do it in every week or a month.”

Freddie Redd Jr. was born in Harlem on Could 29, 1928, to Freddie and Helen (Snipes) Redd. His father was a porter who performed the piano at house, and his mom was a homemaker. His father died when Freddie was 2, however he left behind the instrument on which Freddie would train himself to play.

Along with his grandson Mr. Clarke, Mr. Redd is survived by a stepdaughter, Susan Redd; two different grandchildren; and two step-grandchildren. His spouse, Valarie (Lyons) Redd, died earlier than him, as did his youngsters, Stephanie Redd and Freddie Redd III.

Mr. Redd was drafted into the Military in 1946. He later remembered first listening to bebop whereas stationed in South Korea, on a file performed by a fellow service member. He was hooked.

After returning to New York in 1949, he began enjoying with leaders on the scene like Artwork Blakey, Gene Ammons, Sonny Rollins and Artwork Farmer; he recorded his first album, “Freddie Redd Trio,” for Status in 1955 and hung out in California performing with Charles Mingus.

“Throughout that interval, we realized that we had been a brotherhood; we had been all after the identical factor,” Mr. Redd advised The Occasions, remembering his colleagues on the trendy jazz scene within the Fifties. “We had been drawn to the inspirational facet of the music. It was a beautiful time.”

After being arrested for marijuana possession, he misplaced his cabaret card, a doc issued by law enforcement that was required of anybody performing in nightclubs. Unable to work in golf equipment, he moved right into a loft in Greenwich Village and have become a part of a scene that included visible artists, poets and different musicians.

There Mr. Redd met the actor Garry Goodrow, who had simply been forged in “The Connection,” a brand new play on the Dwelling Theater that put the lives of heroin-addicted musicians on intimate show. That led to an introduction to Mr. Gelber, who employed him to compose the music and carry out as a member of the forged.

Although the movie model of “The Connection” is now acknowledged as a basic of indie cinema, its uncooked and unflinching portrayal got here into the cross hairs of censors in america, the place it was infrequently screened.

Just a few years later, in certainly one of his few pop studio dates, Mr. Redd was the organist on James Taylor’s debut single, “Carolina in My Thoughts.”

Within the liner notes to a Mosaic Data boxed set, “The Full Blue Notice Recordings of Freddie Redd” (1989), Jackie McLean mirrored on Mr. Redd’s chimerical profession. “You by no means know what city you’ll see” the pianist in, he wrote. “He’s all the time been itinerant. Freddie simply seems on occasion, like some fantastic spirit.”



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