Born: December 28, 1966 Primary Instrument: Composer/conductor
Critics have called saxophonist/composer Rob Reddy a versatile and adventurous saxophonist (Scott Yanow, All Music Guide) and an impressive and open-minded tunesmith (Troy Collins, AllAboutJazz.com), noting that he sounds, and dares to sound, like no one but himself (Brian Morton, Jazz Review). Since the early 1990s, wrote Harry Newman in a feature article in Downtown Express, Rob Reddy has been forging a way uniquely his own as a jazz composer, saxophone player, and bandleader in New York.
Rob Reddy grew up on the north shore of Long Island, New York. He began studying piano and composing at an early age under the tutelage of Ranny Reeve, a local Jazz pianist and composer. Soon after he began playing saxophone and went on to study with trumpeter Dave Burns, and saxophonists Makanda Ken McIntyre and Dave Liebman. He continued his studies at the New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music.
Since forming his first band in 1989, a trio featuring legendary bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Pheeroan akLaff, Reddy has worked almost exclusively as a leader, with the exception of stints with Workman's ensemble and Ronald Shannon Jackson's Decoding Society in the early 1990s. For the rest of that decade, Reddy would helm a sextet called Rob Reddy's Honor System, documented on his first two recordings, Post-War Euphoria (Songlines Recordings) and Songs That You Can Trust (Koch Jazz).
Two other CDs, However Humble (Koch Jazz) and Seeing by the Light of My Own Candle (Knitting Factory Records), would follow early in the new millennium, demonstrating Reddy's expanding palette, as well as a growing roster of notable collaborators, including bassist Dom Richards, drummer Guillermo E. Brown, violinist Charles Burnham, guitarist Jef Lee Johnson, and trumpeter John Carlson among others.
I never use composition as a vehicle for improvisation, Reddy explains, but rather I utilize improvisation as a tool to support the melodic material. My music is rooted in American folk forms (blues, gospel, country, Appalachian, marches and a wide range of jazz), and my recordings and working ensembles draw on a pool of musicians whose sounds and strengths become an essential part of presenting that music.”
In October 2006, he founded the Reddy Music label, and released A Hundred Jumping Devils, featuring a new sextet called Rob Reddy's Gift Horse, featuring Burnham, Richards, French hornist Mark Taylor, guitarist Brandon Ross, and percussionist Mino Cinelu. The CD received critical praise and earned Reddy a commission from Chamber Music America to write new music for the ensemble.
His second Reddy Music release, The Book of the Storm, featured an all-star 19-piece ensemble, Rob Reddy's Small Town, performing the hour-long title piece live at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center. This impressive large-scale work was commissioned by the New York State Council on the Arts and the Jerome Foundation.
As well as some of the aforementioned funding, Reddy has also received commissions and grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, Meet The Composer, the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust and the American Music Center. He has been an artist in residence at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center and has composed for modern dance and film as well.
Currently Reddy is composing for Rob Reddy's Tenfold: an ensemble that includes some of his core group of artists, akLaff, Richards, Ross, Carlson, Burnham and others. Tenfold received a commission from the American Composers Forum in 2007 and presented a month-long series of performances at the Jalopy Theatre in Brooklyn, NY. He is also composing for a new Sextet, Tales of Virtue and Vice which is a drumless chamber ensemble and All You Can Eat, a raucous, powerhouse eight piece electrified ensemble.
Awards:COMMISSIONS. 2008-Tribeca Performing Arts Center – The People – commission for sextet for DreDance Company. 2007-Chamber Music America – Gift Horse – saxophone, French horn, violin, guitar, double bass, percussion. 2007-American Composers Forum – Tenfold – two brass, two winds, two strings, guitar, vibraphone, double bass, percussion. 2004-New York State Council On The Arts – The Book of the Storm – five brass, five winds, six strings, two guitars, two percussion. 2004-Jerome Foundation – The Book of the Storm – five brass, five winds, six strings, two guitars, two percussion. 2000-Meet The Composer – Get Your House in Order – saxophone, trumpet, trombone, guitar, double bass, percussion. 1999-Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust – Quintet – saxophones, cello, guitar, double bass, percussion. 1998-American Composers Forum – The Secret Suite – five brass, five winds, percussion. AWARDS / GRANTS. 2007-Tribeca Performing Arts Center – Artist in Residence to present evening-length commission, The Book of the Storm. 2007-New York Foundation for the Arts – Sponsored Artist Program. 2004-Rockefeller MAP Fund – The Hearing Booths, an evening-length multimedia performance piece. 2003-American Music Center – performance by Rob Reddy’s Quttah. 1998-Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust – recording of Songs that You Can Trust by Rob Reddy’s Honor System.
—Howard Mandel, Jazziz
...Reddy’s is an adventure that benefits fans of any jazz era.
—Andrew Bartlett, Amazon.com
“Rob Reddy’s music is truly American: confident without being arrogant, brash but not swaggering and celebratory to the point of boisterousness and joyous unrestraint.
—Allen Huotari, All About Jazz
Since the early 1990s, Rob Reddy has been forging a way uniquely his own as a jazz composer, saxophone player and bandleader in New York.”
—Harry Newman, Downtown Express
“Reddy understands the link between rhythm and song as well as any younger composer in the wake of Henry Threadgill...
—Leone Evangelista, All About Jazz
“...Reddy sounds, and dares to sound, like no one but himself.
—Brian Morton, Jazz Review
“...Reddy has assembled a fine cast of players, each with an uncommon ability to evoke a broad range of images as they interpret these beautifully complex compositions.
—Elliott Simon, AllAboutJazz
“Released last year, A Hundred Jumping Devils projects a number of the qualities that distinguish Mr. Reddy's best music: stealthy propulsion, sturdy lyricism and a sound that reconciles classical harmony with folk rusticity. Mr. Reddy, who mainly plays soprano and alto, never seems to run out of new ways to bundle the timbres in his arsenal, which include Charlie Burnham's violin, Brandon Ross's guitar and Mark Taylor's French horn.
—Nate Chinen, New York Times
“His new CD, which is called A Hundred Jumping Devils, is striking for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it's the unusual sound pallette he draws on with French horn, violin and congas all in the mix, and secondly it’s his approach to composition, taking in inspiration from a variety of disparate sources: hymns, processionals and sambas amongst them...a quite unusual mix of instruments, influences and sounds.
—Jez Nelson, BBC 3's Jazz on 3
“...Rob Reddy has recorded another noteworthy addition to his discography as he continues to explore new themes, new textures and new rhythms...
—Bill Donaldson, Cadence
“…Reddy and band perpetuate a wondrous, multihued palette of disparate elements in concert with ferocious interplay and fragile soundscapes.
—Glenn Astarita, DownBeat
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