Wednesday, May 2, 2012

CD Review: “Seeds From The Underground” by Kenny Garrett

Seeds from the underground

Seeds From the Underground

At age 18, he was playing in The Duke Ellington Band, three years later he was playing in The Mel Lewis Orchestra playing the music of Thad Jones. At 24 cut he his first album as a bandleader, Introducing Kenny Garrett. Along the way, he has played in small ensembles, recording the music of the legends such as Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, and Charlie Parker. he has played with still yet other legends, Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, McCoy Tyner, Pharoah Sanders, Brian Blade, Marcus Miller, Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, Herbie Hancock, Bobby Hutcherson, Ron Carter, Elvin Jones, and Mulgrew Miller. During that time, he became one of those legends and has cut some of the seminal works of the post-bop era, including albums such as 1989s Prisoner Of Love and 1992s, Black Hope and he has won Grammys.

“Seeds From The Underground” back story
Over the 30 plus year career he has become recognized as the preeminent alto sax player of his generation, and a pretty damn good flautist. With, Seeds From the Underground, Garrett has given notice that these qualities have not only become more impressive, but have provided him with the platform and credentials to expand and communicate  his musical vision. On Seeds he not only returns to an all acoustic format with an explosive and very talented quartet, but this isn’t just any quartet, and they really couldn’t be because this isn’t your average acoustic jazz set either.

His time in The Five Peace Band, a jazz super group consisting of Garrett, Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, Christian McBride and Vinnie Colaiuta, pushed Garrett to explore unusual rhythm and meter and his approach to them. Those ideas in the front of his mind when he formed this current group lead him to enlist the services of bassist Nat Reeve as the rhythmic anchor, Detroit drummer, Ronald Bruner and the McCoy Tyner channeling piano of Venezuelan Benito Gonzales. Toss in some percussion provided by Rudy Bird and you have some driving rhythms providing the pulse for acoustic post bop refreshed. 

“Seeds From The Underground”

Garrett has always expressed in his music, a love of music from all over the world. So, on this album you’ll find influences not only from those players he pays respect to but from other countries as well. There are sounds from Greece, Africa, Indonesia, China, Guadalope all wrapped around his own sound and complementing those varied rhythms and meters. At the end of the title track, you’ll even hear a line or two from the Nat Adderly tune, made famous by Nat’s alto sax legend brother, Cannonball Adderly,“Work Song”.

Like the seeds that inspired this album, Kenny Garrett will continue to grow. This is his second release on Mack Avenue Records and, as will become apparent as you listen to this album, he is just getting started. he’ll be touring behind the album release (April 10) throughout May and June before taking the show to Europe and points east in November. Check his website for dates.


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Copyright © 2012 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved

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