Sun on Sand (Nonesuch Records)

Joshua Redman & Brooklyn Rider

Released October 4, 2019

AllMusic Favorite Jazz Albums 2019




The album comprises eight compositions from a suite by composer Patrick Zimmerli. Each piece in the suite, which premiered at London’s Wigmore Hall in 2014, represents a different expression of light. Redman previously worked with Zimmerli when the latter created orchestral arrangements of Redman’s compositions for the 2013 Nonesuch album Walking Shadows.

Originally from New York, composer and saxophonist Patrick Zimmerli lives and works between his hometown and Paris. His music is at the crossroads of classical music and contemporary jazz. He collaborates with many international musicians, including Brad Mehldau, Brian Blade, Luciana Souza, Ethan Iverson, The Knights, and the Escher String Quartet. His music has been performed at Carnegie Hall and Town Hall in New York, Wigmore Hall in London, Salle Pleyel in Paris, Konzerthaus Großer Saal in Vienna, Sala São Paolo, and SFJAZZ in San Francisco. His previous work on Nonesuch includes Redman’s Walking Shadows and Brad Mehldau and Kevin Hays’ Modern Music (2011).

Joshua Redman’s first album on Nonesuch was the Grammy-nominated Momentum (2005). His other releases on the label include Back East, Compass, and Trios Live, all of which explore the trio format; MoodSwing (1994, re-issued); Walking Shadows (2013), his first recording to include an orchestral ensemble; The Bad Plus Joshua Redman (2015), a collaboration with the acclaimed trio; Nearness (2016), a duo album with longtime friend and collaborator Brad Mehldau; the 2018 Grammy–nominated Still Dreaming—an album inspired by his father Dewey Redman’s 1976–1987 band, Old and New Dreams; and Come What May with the Joshua Redman Quartet, featuring pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Reuben Rogers, and drummer Gregory Hutchinson. Redman currently tours with his trio with Rogers and Hutchinson; his quartet; Still Dreaming, with Ron Miles, Scott Colley and Brian Blade (David King on recent tours); and occasionally with the collaborative group James Farm, with Aaron Parks, Matt Penman, and Eric Harland. James Farm has two releases on Nonesuch: their 2011 self-titled album and 2014’s City Folk.

Hailed as “the future of chamber music” (Strings), Brooklyn Rider offers eclectic repertoire in performances that attract fans and draw critical acclaim from classical, world, and rock writers. A deeply collaborative and generative ensemble, Brooklyn Rider recently released The Butterfly with Irish fiddler Martin Hayes and Dreamers with Mexican jazz vocalist Magos Herrera. This past season, Brooklyn Rider debuted their Healing Modes project, which presents Beethoven’s Opus 132 string quartet alongside five new commissions by Reena Esmail, Gabriela Lena Frank, Matana Roberts, Caroline Shaw, and Du Yun. Other recent recording projects include The Fiction Issue with music by Gabriel Kahane, so many things with Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, A Walking Fire and The Brooklyn Rider Almanac, The Impostor with banjo legend Béla Fleck, Silent City with Iranian kamancheh player Kayhan Kalhor, and the much-praised Brooklyn Rider Plays Philip Glass. The ensemble’s violinist Johnny Gandelsman launched In A Circle Records in 2008 with the release of Brooklyn Rider’s debut recording Passport, followed by Dominant Curve in 2010, Seven Steps in 2012, and Spontaneous Symbols in 2017.

Track Listing:

1. Flash (Patrick Zimmerli) 04:44

2. Between Dog and Wolf (Patrick Zimmerli) 06:42

3. Sun on Sand (Patrick Zimmerli) 06:01

4. Dark White (Patrick Zimmerli) 03:14

5. Soft Focus (Patrick Zimmerli) 05:21

6. Through Mist (Patrick Zimmerli) 06:30

7. Starbursts and Haloes (Patrick Zimmerli) 05:27

8. Between Dog and Wolf: Reprise (Patrick Zimmerli) 02:20


Joshua Redman: tenor saxophone
Scott Colley: bass
Satoshi Takeishi: drums

Brooklyn Rider
Colin Jacobsen: violin
Johnny Gandelsman: violin
Nicholas Cords: viola
Eric Jacobsen: cello

Recorded by Tom Lazarus at Sear Sound, NYC, on April 29, 30, and May 1, 2015
Mixed and Engineered by Tom Lazarus at Avatar Studios, NYC
Mastered by Robert C. Ludwig, Gateway Mastering, Portland, ME

Cover design by Danielle Rambert and Christine Im
Design by Christine Im
Cover photo by A Rey / Getty Images
Group photo by David Jacobs Produced by Patrick Zimmerli

The music on this recording comes from “Aspects of Darkness and Light,” a suite for tenor saxophone, string quartet, bass, and percussion, which was commissioned by the Seattle Commissioning Club and premiered at Wigmore Hall, London, on April 24, 2014.


A collaboration between saxophonist Joshua Redman, forward-thinking chamber string ensemble Brooklyn Rider, and composer Patrick Zimmerli, 2019’s Sun on Sand is a kinetic, richly attenuated album that straddles the line between jazz and modern classical. The album is comprised of eight compositions culled from a suite by Zimmerli which he and Redman originally premiered in London in 2014. Zimmerli, a jazz-trained saxophonist himself who has garnered acclaim for his hybrid orchestrations, previously supplied orchestral arrangements for Redman on his 2013 album Walking Shadows, and for Brooklyn Rider on their similar collaboration with vocalist Anne Sofie von Otter, 2016’s So Many Things. He’s also worked on projects with luminaries like the Bad Plus, Brad Mehldau, Ben Monder, and others. Consequently, as a composer, he brings a wide-ranging ear to Sun on Sand, ably straddling the line between exploratory modern creative jazz and more highly structured classical soundscapes. Also joining Redman are his equally talented rhythm section bandmates bassist Scott Colley and drummer Satoshi Takeishi; the latter of whom is also a longtime Zimmerli associate going back to the ’90s. The opening “Flash” is a brisk, spiraling piece with Redman playing a serpentine melody against an equally gyroscopic string section, bringing to mind a genre-bending mix of Sonny Rollins-meets-Aaron Copland-meets-Steve Reich. The rest of the album is just as engaging, as Redman wails through falling shards of sharp orchestral glass on “Dark White,” glides bird-like through Brooklyn Rider’s falling spring rain on “Soft Focus,” and arises with mournful lyricism through the ensemble’s deeply colored orchestral drones on “Starbursts and Haloes.” The most impressive aspect of Sun on Sand is how balanced the collaboration feels. Redman has the facility and sound to carry the music, but Brooklyn Rider offer a deeply textured counterpoint, while Zimmerli’s expansive voice remains ever present.

Matt Collar (AllMusic)