Great Texan saxophonist Dewey Redman is best known for his work with Ornette Coleman, the great "Birth" band (as I call it, after one of their great records) with Keith Jarrett, Old & New Dreams and his own fine output on Impulse!, Freedom, Actuel, ECM, Black Saint and others. He was self-taught and didn't lead a band until he was in his 30s.
He was the nephew of famed pioneering swing jazz hornsmen/arranger Don Redman (known for his work with Fletcher Henderson and others). Dewey started as a kid on clarinet, playing in a church band, before picking up the sax. He came out of that same Fort Worth high school that brought us Ornette, King Curtis, Prince Lasha, Charles Moffett, Ronald Shannon Jackson and others. In fact, Redman was classmate to a few of them. After college and an Army stint in the late '50s he was in San Francisco, playing with young Pharoah Sanders and Donald Rafael Garrett. He toured across to the country in the early-to-mid-'60s, ending up in NYC.
In the '60s and '70s he collaborated with old high school pal Ornette, contributing to New York Is Now, Science Fiction, Crisis, Love Call and others. He also later became a member of the Coleman-inspired group Old & New Dreams, with Don Cherry, Ed Blackwell and Charlie Haden, recording four excellent albums for ECM in the '70s & '80s. The earlier-mentioned Jarrett band (with Haden and Paul Motian) ran off a string of albums that stand among all the musician's best work. He also played with Pat Metheny, Jane Bunnett, LeRoy Jenkins, Tom Harrell, Steve Turre, Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra and others, as well as with his son, well-known saxophonist Joshua Redman. His late-career classic was a trio with Cecil Taylor and Elvin Jones (Momentum Space, Verve '99).
He played tenor and musette, along with some alto and clarinet. You could often hear his humming effect and his use of the musette adds an "exotic" sound to his palette. His rough and bluesy tenor playing was a recognizable style within the '60s and '70s avant-garde of jazz.