Trios Live features saxophonist Joshua Redman performing live in concert with his trio on two separate dates. The first concert was recorded in 2009 at New York's Jazz Standard and the second was recorded in 2013 at Washington's Blues Alley. Backing Redman on both of these dates is drummer Gregory Hutchinson; who is then joined by bassist Matt Penman on the Jazz Standard recording, and bassist Reuben Rogers for the Blues Alley performance. As there are no chordal instruments such as piano or guitar in Redman's trio, he is free to explore a wide harmonic color palette and does so here with plenty of exuberance. This is Redman the bluesy, muscular, yet mathematically concise improviser, digging deep into such influences as Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, and Ornette Coleman. Although Redman has never shied away from progressive, extroverted improvisation, as Trios Live comes on the heels of his reflective, lushly produced 2013 orchestral ballads album, Walking Shadows, it has more in common with his adventurous 2007 studio trio album, Back East, as well as his fearless 2009 double-trios experiment, Compass. Along with three originals, on Trios Live we also get Redman's take on such standards as Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's "Moritat (Mack the Knife)," Jay Livingston and Ray Evans' "Never Let Me Go," and Thelonious Monk's "Trinkle, Tinkle." Also included is Redman's frenetic reworking of Led Zeppelin's "The Ocean." Always an engaging improviser, Redman is perhaps at his best in a club setting and Trios Live does nothing to dissuade one of that notion.
AllMusic Review by Matt Collar