- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Redman ‘Back East’

Jazzman Joshua Redman sets up shop at Georgetown’s Blues Alley tonight through Sunday. The engagement celebrates his latest release, “Back East,” but it’s also a homecoming of sorts.

Sixteen years ago, the California native graduated from Harvard and opted to play jazz in New York City rather than attend Yale Law School as planned.

A win in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition’s sax category (held a few months later at the Smithsonian Institution’s Baird Auditorium) just might have been the first tip-off that he’d made the right decision. Recognition from such venerable mags as Rolling Stone and Down Beat soon followed.

The saxophonist eventually returned to the West Coast and steadily built a diverse and lauded body of work that includes albums with an acoustic quartet, his funk-flavored Elastic Band and the SFJAZZ Collective.

With “Back East,” his first record using an acoustic trio, he reconnects with his East Coast past.

“It’s a simpler, more intimate sound,” says Mr. Redman, 38. “In some ways, it hearkens back to my earliest days as a musician, but I never felt ready to do a record like this. … There’s so much more responsibility when you don’t have a pianist.”

He’s not alone, though. Bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Ali Jackson join him for his local dates.

Director’s dilemma

Juan Carlos Fresnadillo may be the least likely directorial choice for a project since Emilio Estevez took up his sprawling ode to Robert F. Kennedy in last year’s “Bobby.”

Mr. Fresnadillo, tapped to direct the sequel to the British horror hit “28 Days Later,” admits he was as shocked as anyone when “Days” director Danny Boyle asked him to sign up for the assignment.

“Why me? I’m not a Londoner. I’m not English,” the Spanish director says.

The first film pivoted, in part, on just how bleak London looked after a rage virus decimated the population. Turns out Mr. Boyle and company were looking for a foreigner to give the potential franchise “fresh eyes.”

“That sounded good to me,” says the soft-spoken Mr. Fresnadillo, who previously gave us the enigmatic “Intacto.”

Opening tomorrow, “28 Weeks Later” imagines England getting back on its feet after the outbreak in the first film. Mr. Fresnadillo says the producers let him dictate the pace and plotting of the sequel.

“I need a kind of freedom to deliver something my way,” he says.

To do that, he imagined himself as a journalist covering the repopulation effort in the film — as a documentarian might have done. “That mental game was really helpful to the story,” he says.

Squeeze play

British rockers Squeeze are reuniting for their limited Quintessential tour, which winds through 12 cities nationwide including Vienna, Va., this summer. The band (Chris Difford, Glenn Tilbrook,John Bentley, Stephen “Lord” Large and Simon Hanson) takes the stage at Wolf Trap on Aug. 9.

Compiled by Jenny Mayo, Christian Toto and Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff reports

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