For me, this track encapsulates the pandemic, in all its paradoxes. On the one hand, there is the urgency of the churning harmonic background, with Aaron Goldberg, Reuben Rogers, and Gregory Hutchinson running though the changes over and over in 6/4 time, simultaneously propulsive and halting. Then there’s Redman’s playing, both reflective and forward leaning. When the pandemic started, it felt like everything was in a rush to get ready for the onslaught of the oncoming plague. Remember trying to find toilet paper? Then everything stopped, and it felt like we all went on pause. When many of us surfaced in virtual land, working from home, conducting school at the kitchen table, narrowing our spheres of travel, it seemed like we would be in hibernation for an extended period of time. Yet that hibernation has been packed with more activity than we did before any of this started – for example, studies have shown that people work more now than they ever did before the pandemic. Make no mistake: we live in a different world, one at once more connected, and more distant. Which brings me back to Redman’s music – how can we hold in our minds and live through the conflicting realities of the modern world? How can we honor tradition while at the same time looking forward? How can we move in a new, deliberate, and resolute way? The answers to those questions and more are in this music.
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