Not Your Classic: Carlos Redman


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Carlos Redman is tooting his own horn across the city, becoming one of the most noted emerging musicians on the jazz scene. After spending years in the Midwest and southern U.S., the 30-year-old jazz trumpeter is making his mark on the Big Apple. With his band, Chemistry, Redman not only plays jazz, he gives his audience a musical experience that includes funk, neo-soul and R&B. He has been seen at famed jazz venues like Fat Cat and Smalls in Greenwich Village, Sugar Hill in Brooklyn and Billie's Black in Harlem.

Having played music for the last 20 years, Redman hails from the west side of Detroit, where he started out playing the cello under musicians from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He originally wanted to play the saxophone, but his teachers insisted he play the trumpet. He won several state music awards for his talent.

“I didn't take music seriously until I got to high school," he said. “I met some of the Funk Brothers from Motown and they gave me lessons."

Redman became so talented that one night, at age 15, his high school music teacher, who also played the trumpet, was double-booked for a gig so Redman took his place. As it turned out, the gig was to play backup for soul legend Aretha Franklin at the famed Fox Theater. A year later, at age 16, he played in a concert behind the late R&B singer Aaliyah.

After high school, Redman received a full scholarship to the historically Black Alabama State University (ASU), where he studied classical trumpet. While at ASU, he also studied jazz under Ellis Marsalis at the University of New Orleans.

Upon graduation, Redman began teaching music in the public school system. He has taught all grades, from kindergarten to high school, serving as a band director.

“The best thing to see is when a kid has a lot of self-doubt and insecurities and they instantly gain confidence in themselves," he said. “Their grades improve and discipline improves. For a lot of kids, music offers the same opportunities I was afforded: to get out of the hood and get an education based on their talent and travel to places and learn new things culturally." Now a resident of Brooklyn, Redman is now performing full-time, with a slew of performances throughout the city. With four albums already under his belt, his fifth album is scheduled for release in June. He's looking to bring his talent overseas to Europe and Asia's jazz scenes.

Redman said that his musical influences include Donald Byrd, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Don Redman and Russell Gunn. When on stage, he said that performing puts him in a place that allows the audience to consume his unique sound.

“It's a tremendous sense of freedom; the ability to be artful even in solitude even though you are in front of a bunch of people," he said.

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