Just 33 years old, saxophonist and Berkeley native Joshua Redman is already a celebrated jazzman. With eight albums under his belt, the Harvard grad—who passed up Yale Law School to pursue music—is now in his third year as artistic director of San Francisco's SFJAZZ Spring Season (March 19-June 14).
Q: What is your role as artistic director?
A: To put together programs of great music by great artists in a way that reaches a broad audience.
Q: Who are you most excited about for Spring Season?
A: Saxophonist Sonny Rollins is one of my top influences. So, of course, that's a highlight for me.
Q: How did growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area affect your musical sensibility?
A: It exposed me to all different kinds of music—everything from jazz and funk to AC/DC—without too much emphasis on what style it was. And that gave me a broad-based approach to music.
Q: Any favorite jazz spots out West?
A: Yoshi's in Oakland and Jazz Alley in Seattle.
Q: Ever think about going back and getting that law degree?
A: Less and less. I feel very fortunate that what I do is both a passion and a profession.
Q: How did you get to be so cool?
A: It's all smoke and mirrors. Maybe it's the saxophone—it can make you look cool. I certainly didn't feel like the cool kid when I was in school.
Photography courtesy Jay Holcomb/Wikipedia
This article was first published in March 2002. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.