Though it was recorded live at New York's jazz emporium, Iridium, Detroit born saxophonist Kenny Garrett makes a return home of sorts with Sketches of MD, his debut on the Motor City's own Mack Avenue Records. His quartet here, with bassist Nat Reeves, pianist/organist Benito Gonzalez, and drummer Jamire Williams, may not possess the star power of some of his studio albums, but this band is more than up for the gig. In addition, saxophonist Pharoah Sanders reprises his role from Beyond the Wall from 2006 as Garrett's foil, creating sparks aplenty.
Altoist Kenny Garrett, who was then a key member of Miles Davis' group, had one of his strongest early sets as a leader on this Atlantic disc. "Ja-Hed" features his post-bop improvising over the chord changes of "Impressions," the is both lighthearted and adventurous on "Mack the Knife" and the title cut has Garrett expertly building up an emotional solo from intense long tones to sound explorations and late period 'Trane screams. Throughout the CD, Kenny Garrett's alto is the main attraction but the strong rhythm section (comprised of pianist Mulgrew Miller, either Charnett Moffett or Ron Carter on bass, Tony Reedus or Elvin Jones on drums and occasional percussionists) should not be overlooked.
For his third Mack Avenue Records release, Pushing the World Away, alto/soprano saxophonist, composer/bandleader Kenny Garrett literally had to “push away” a steady flow of distractions to get to the inner core of the album, shifting priorities in his schedule and diving deep into the essence of the music.
This project from 1989 is produced by Kenny and features him with members of Miles Davis' working band of that era including Miles himself, Darrell Jones, Marcus Miller, Foley, Ricky Wellman, Mino Cinelu and others. A must for fans of Miles or Kenny.
On Beyond the Wall, the saxophonist and composer has continued his deep exploration of modal jazz. The album is dedicated to McCoy Tyner, the king and progenitor of modal pianists, and it sounds as if Garrett observed that tutelage well, though the music is unmistakably his own. The core band on the set features drummer Brian Blade, bassist Robert Hurst, and Mulgrew Miller on piano. Pharoah Sanders and Bobby Hutcherson appear on all but two of these nine cuts (Sanders appears on these, the pair on five).
Kenny Garrett is a Grammy Award winning American post bop jazz saxophonist and flautist, who gained fame as a member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, and Miles Davis' band as a young man. He has since pursued a critically acclaimed solo career, and most recently, by joining a supergroup of jazz musicians, titled the Five Peace Band.
Alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett hasn't been as heavily publicized as his fellow young lions, but he can play with as much authority, conviction, and sheer energy as anyone. Only some uneven material keeps his '92 album from being exceptional, and even on the weak songs, Garrett's playing forces you to pay attention.