Don Redman

Don Redman

Don Redman (July 29, 1900 – November 30, 1964) was an American jazz musician, arranger, bandleader, and composer.

In 1923, Redman joined the Fletcher Henderson orchestra, mostly playing clarinet and saxophones. He began writing arrangements, and Redman did much to formulate the sound that was to become swing. A trademark of Redman's arrangements was the band playing harmony under written solos. He played brass and reed sections off each other in a call-response pattern, having one section punctuate the figures of another, and moved the melody around different orchestral sections and soloists. His use of this technique was sophisticated, highly innovative, and formed the basis of much big band jazz writing in the following decades.

Redman then formed his own band in 1931, which got a residency at the famous Manhattan jazz club Connie's Inn. Redman signed with Brunswick Records and also did a series of radio broadcasts. Redman and his Orchestra also provided music for the animated short I Heard, part of the Betty Boop series produced by Fleischer Studios and distributed by Paramount. Redman composed original music for the short, which was released on September 1, 1933. The Brunswick records Redman made between 1931–1934 were some of the most complex pre-swing hot jazz arrangements of popular tunes. Redman's band didn't rely on just a driving rhythm or great soloists, but it had an overall level of arranging sophistication that was seldom heard by other black bands of the period.[citation needed] The popular vocalist, Harlan Lattimore, provided about half of the vocals during this period. Redman himself was occasionally featured as vocalist, displaying a humorous, recitation-like vocal style on numbers such as "Doin' What I Please" and "I Gotcha."

Redman recorded for Brunswick through 1934. He then did a number of sides for ARC in 1936 (issued on their Vocalion, Perfect, Melotone, etc.) and in 1937, he pioneered a series of swing re-arrangements of old classic pop tunes for the Variety label. His use of a swinging vocal group (called "The Swing Choir") was very modern and even today, quite usual, with Redman's sophisticated counterpoint melodies. He signed with Bluebird in 1938 and recorded with them until 1940, when he disbanded

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Swing City Radio plays Don Redman - Listen to our station and hear the songs:
I Heard
Chant Of The Weed
Hot and Anxious
Trouble Why Pick On Me
Ain't I the Lucky One?

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