Author: Karsten Hein
Category: Audiophile Music
I am by no means and expert in Jazz. I have neither been educated in music nor have I studied or followed the genre for very long. I came to Jazz mainly because of two things: the pleasure of discovering and listening to high quality recordings, and the boredom of being stuck in contemporary music that is all based on a handful of chords being repeated over and over again. Jazz speaks to me as an aging audiophile wanting to be tickled and teased, but also as a listener with an inquisitive mind.
Having said this, I am not quite as green as I was 7 years ago—when I thought that Diana Krall made complex albums—and the names Redman, Mehldau, McBride, and Blade all rang a bell. McBride’s “Live at the Village Vanguard” I presented in this forum in October 2020, an album that I had first heard at a friend’s house on a Dynaco ST70 system running on Snell C4 speakers. In the spacious room with the 4,00m high ceilings, it sounded as if my friend had invited the musicians in person. I was very impressed, everything from the system to the room screamed: this is real. Perhaps, if I am lucky, he will let me present the components on eiaudio at some point.
“Round Again” is the unlikely 2020 quartet reunion of the musicians, following Joshua Redman's “Moodswing” album back in 1994. Twenty-six years of separation are a long time, the equivalent of a life-sentence. A whole new generation has meanwhile taken over in music and elsewhere, and yet, the four musicians play with such familiarity that it seems as though they never parted. Joshua Redman on tenor saxophone, Brad Mehldau at the piano, Christian McBride on bass, and Brian Blade on drums create an engaging, lively atmosphere that is both highly sophisticated and surprisingly playful. For a relative novice like me, side A is easier to digest, with ‘Undertow’, ‘Moe Honk’, and ‘Silly Little Love Song’ having more approachable themes. “Round Again” is my second album from The Guardian’s “10 best jazz albums of 2020” list. I am grateful for the recommendation.