Freddie Redd Biography

29 May 1928, New York City, New York, USA. A self-taught pianist, Redd worked semi-professionally for a number of years, then led his own small groups in and around his home town. In the early 50s he began working with established leaders including Tiny Grimes, Cootie Williams and Charles Mingus. During the rest of the decade he played with jump bands, including a precursor of soul jazz, Gene Ammons, and also with mainstream and bop musicians, including Art Farmer and Gigi Gryce. He also visited Europe, playing and recording with Ernestine Anderson, Rolf Ericson and others.

In the late 50s and early 60s he again played with Mingus, but found temporary fame when he appeared in and wrote the music for the play The Connection, appearing in New York, London and Paris and in the 1961 film version. The soundtrack, released on Blue Note Records, featured Redd leading a quartet that included alto saxophonist Jackie McLean. For most of the next dozen years, Redd, who had composed several pieces, lived and worked outside the USA but returned there in the mid-70s, gradually drifting onto the edges of the music business. Redd’s career choices, which have mingled bop and the R&B impregnated jump style, helped create an intriguing and vigorous playing style worthy of wider appreciation.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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