Monday, March 1, 2010

Kenny Garrett: Bebop Into The Future

Kenny Garrett (sax; b. 1960)

Detroit born Kenny Garrett learned a lot as one of Miles Davis' session and touring band members during Miles' final years (1987 - 1991). He has also played with Woody Shaw (a major influence), Freddie Hubbard, Geri Allen and Art Blakey to name a few. His style has always been compared to Sonny Rollins, Sonny Stitt and definitely John Coltrane. But while the influences are there, Kenny Garrett has managed to create his own path and voice over the course of 15 albums. Garrett has shown himself to not only be a solid performer but a versatile one as well. He incorporates raw soulful grooves into his repertoire regularly, which makes many of his albums quite adventurous as well as refreshing.

There is a very solid block ('92 - '96) in which Garrett was prolific, thought-provoking and in clear grasp of his what he wanted to deliver to the public. For anyone, the albums Black Hope, Threshold, Triology and Pursuance (all on Warner Brothers) are all worth seeking out. For me these are 4 star albums of the highest order.

My personal favourite, Triology (Warner Brothers, 1995) is a fantastic record performed by a young artist that showed a myriad of ideas. The strength of his performance as well as his trio featuring Kiyoshi Kitagawa, Charnett Moffett (bass), & Brian Blade (drums) made Triology a worn out CD in my house for almost two years. The album included a nice mixture of standards and originals, all played with fresh verve and distinctive virtuosity. Standards like "Night And Day" & "Giant Steps" glide well against Garrett's own "Wayne's Thang" and "Oriental Towaway Zone" with true honour and respect to the foundations of jazz. The main thing for me has always been that some of the standards are very challenging to perform as a trio (without piano or trumpet) especially Coltrane's "Giant Steps," and towards the end of the album Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way," but Garrett's trio pull this off with great ease and beauty.

Triology, among the aforementioned albums, is perfect for any music lover (jazz fan or not). Hope you dig them.

No comments:

Post a Comment