Irish bassist David Redmond is a much sought-after double bassist both in this country and on the wider international jazz scene. Among a long and stellar list of collaborators, he has played with Van Morrison, with Louis Stewart, with the singer Iain Shaw and the much-esteemed Glaswegian jazz saxophonist Bobby Wellins. He toured China recently with the Kevin Brady Trio.
In Ireland he is a member of both the Phil Ware trio and the Tommy Halferty Trio. Roots is his first album, released on the Barcelona-based Fresh Sound label. This stimulating and varied record features a brace of original compositions by Redmond himself, on which he is joined by the aforementioned drummer Kevin Brady, Jason Rigby on tenor sax, and pianist Bill Carrothers.
The aptly-named Serpentine opens proceedings as Jason Rigby’s Ben Webster-style sax winds its way serpent-like over a bed of cymbals and Redmond’s softly purring, restless bass. Carrothers lets loose some richly complementary piano lines, before the track returns to its bold, introductory motif.
Vertigo opens with a short yet recognisable quote from Beethoven’s Für Elise, before settling into a kind of North African or Arabian groove, resembling somewhat the Ellington standard Caravan. Kish is a dark, moody piano-led composition beginning with Rigby's solo piano, before he is joined by Redmond's bass. Finally drums and wheeezy sax fill out the elusive, slightly saturnine mood.
It’s all a bit like the sun trying to shine hard on a picture with a dark varnish and Kish is a most effective track, markedly different in tone from what precedes it. The title track Roots is a bouncy, upbeat exercise with the band on top form, clearly digging what’s going down.
The too short Missing Man 1 (2minutes 29 seconds) reverts to a more wistful mood, where the band seem thoughtful and immersed in their own individual worlds of sound. Yet they make a wonderful whole. If you feel you need more Missing Man, track eight continues the beautiful saga. But before that second delicious 1 minute 20 seconds fragment, there is Past Place. That's reflective in a different way, assured with musical intelligence and depth of feeling.
Big Mouth is funky, bluesy and don’t-mess-with–me, while Prairie Dog is stroppy and stompy. The smoky slow-burner Last Call finishes the whole exhilarating adventure, featuring four finely-tuned musical sensibilities at the top of their game.