Freddie Redd, a pianist and composer who launched a pair of well-received albums for Blue Word Information within the early Nineteen Sixties, then spent greater than half a century bouncing by completely different cities as an envoy of jazz’s golden age, died on March 17 at a care facility in Manhattan. He was 92.
His grandson Leslie Clarke stated he had died in his sleep, however didn’t give a trigger.
Mr. Redd is finest recognized for writing the music for “The Connection” (1959), an Off Broadway play by Jack Gelber that depicted the lives of heroin-addicted musicians in New York, and that two years later turned a famend movie directed by Shirley Clarke. Mr. Redd appeared in each.
The largely self-taught Mr. Redd was significantly recognized for his compositions, and for his talent as an accompanist. Even when he was the one soloing, his left hand’s roving chords have been usually as wealthy as his proper hand’s improvised traces.
“The Music From ‘The Connection,’” launched in 1960, was Mr. Redd’s first album for Blue Word, adopted in 1961 by the equally acclaimed “Shades of Redd,” which featured an all-star band: the alto saxophonist Jackie McLean (who was additionally in “The Connection”), the tenor saxophonist Tina Brooks, the bassist Paul Chambers and the drummer Louis Hayes.
He recorded one other album’s value of fabric in 1961, however these tapes have been shelved after Mr. Redd had a falling-out with one in every of Blue Word’s founders, Alfred Lion. It was lastly launched as “Redd’s Blues” in 1988. His studio profession slowed down, and by the mid-Nineteen Sixties he had moved to Europe, the place for audiences his presence turned symbolic of a vanishing halcyon age in small-group jazz.
A local New Yorker, Mr. Redd did the inverse of the pilgrimage made by most main jazz musicians: He began his profession on the middle of the jazz universe, then moved out. And moved, and moved once more.
From the mid-60s on, he would spend stretches in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Paris, London, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Guadalajara, Baltimore and Carrboro, N.C. In his 80s he returned to New York, the place he recorded two albums for the SteepleChase label and spent his closing years.
Mr. Redd told The New York Times that his peripatetic profession supplied him artistic satisfaction — if not at all times honest pay.
“I like to maneuver round,” he stated in a 1991 interview. “It’s at all times refreshing since you don’t know the nuances, the methods of the brand new place. Sadly, the worth I’ve paid for being a maverick resides a life-style that hasn’t been significantly supportive. However I don’t have regrets. There’s lots on the market to search out out about, and generally you possibly can’t do it in every week or a month.”
Freddie Redd Jr. was born in Harlem on Might 29, 1928, to Freddie and Helen (Snipes) Redd. His father was a porter who performed the piano at dwelling, and his mom was a homemaker. His father died when Freddie was 2, however he left behind the instrument on which Freddie would educate himself to play.
Along with his grandson Mr. Clarke, Mr. Redd is survived by a stepdaughter, Susan Redd; two different grandchildren; and two step-grandchildren. His spouse, Valarie (Lyons) Redd, died earlier than him, as did his kids, Stephanie Redd and Freddie Redd III.
He was drafted into the Military in 1946. He later remembered first listening to bebop whereas stationed in South Korea, on a file performed by a fellow service member. He was hooked.
After returning to New York in 1949, he began taking part in with leaders on the scene like Artwork Blakey, Gene Ammons, Sonny Rollins and Artwork Farmer; he recorded his first album, “Freddie Redd Trio,” for Status in 1955, and frolicked in California performing with Charles Mingus.
“Throughout that interval, we realized that we have been a brotherhood; we have been all after the identical factor,” Mr. Redd instructed The Instances, remembering his colleagues on the fashionable jazz scene within the Nineteen Fifties. “We have been drawn to the inspirational facet of the music. It was an exquisite time.”
After being arrested for marijuana possession, Mr. Redd misplaced his cabaret card, a doc issued by law enforcement that was required of anybody performing in nightclubs. Unable to work in golf equipment, he moved right into a loft in Greenwich Village and have become a part of a scene that included visible artists, poets and different musicians.
There he met the actor Garry Goodrow, who had simply been solid in “The Connection,” a brand new play on the Dwelling Theater that put the lives of heroin-addicted musicians on intimate show. That led to an introduction to Mr. Gelber, who employed him to compose the music and carry out as a member of the solid.
Although the movie model of “The Connection” is now acknowledged as a traditional of indie cinema, its uncooked and unflinching portrayal got here into the cross hairs of censors in the USA, the place it was infrequently screened.
A couple of years later, in one in every of his few pop studio dates, Mr. Redd was the organist on James Taylor’s debut single, “Carolina in My Thoughts.”
Within the liner notes to a Mosaic Information boxed set, “The Full Blue Word Recordings of Freddie Redd” (1989), Jackie McLean mirrored on Mr. Redd’s chimerical profession. “You by no means know what city you’ll see” the pianist in, he wrote. “He’s at all times been itinerant. Freddie simply seems sometimes, like some fantastic spirit.”