Freddie Redd that is- consummate improvising keyboardist/composer whose original score on Blue Note for Jack Gelber's searing play The Connection reverberates eternally down the marble halls of the charm(ed) school of indelible jazz, thanks to Freddie's bewitching melodicism, nimble pianistic pyrotechnique, and the keening cry of Jacke McLean on alto (there's also a recording of Freddie's score on Felsted acquired on a Japanese cd reissue some years ago, with trumpeter Howard McGhee an extra added ingredient in the original mix, his quintet actually listed as the featured artist, Freddie ghosting his own parts under the moniker I Ching)
Outside of Herbie Nichols, Freddie Redd is one of the greatest unsung ivory-huntin' heroes of jazz and a very nice man for sure. Freddie is given a hero's welcome, tumultuous ovation by the nearly sold-out, ecstatically cheering crowd where he plays, a joyous whooping throng which included such luminaries. Freddie tremendous form with his fluid technique and improvisational genius on full display, fully undimmed over the years, and in the excellent company of hard bop saxmen Lou Donaldson or smoking Donald Harrison.
One cliff-hanging moment occurred at a New York, when stalwart veteran bassist Mickey Bass's hand seized up at the top of the second set with Redd. Without a moment's hesitation young Dwayne Burno came up out of the audience, jumped onstage, stepped up to the plate, picked up Mickey's acoustic bass while they guided the ailing older jazzman gingerly offstage...and without missing more than about 4 bars mit out bass proceeded to kick it up a notch, or 2, or 3--BAM!!--(as in, Bassist A Mofo...or au Go Go...life's a flow-flow)--to the bass manner born, in other words (in point of fact Dwayne as it turns out is Donald Harrison's regular bassist and had actually played most of these Redd compositions before...so it wasn't QUITE the miracle it looked to be to the crowd...still, it was pretty damn awe-inspiring, as young Dwayne literally saved the day for night. As with so many overlooked artists, you couldn't exactly call this a comeback gig for Freddie Redd (although it was billed along those lines)--as his musical gifts had never deserted him.