Kenny Garrett
Simply Said
Warner Brothers 9 47443-2

Kenny Garrett, leader, alto, soprano sax; Shedrick Mitchell and Mulgrew Miller, piano; Nat Reeves, acoustic bass; Chris Dave and Jeff Watts, drums; Pat Metheny, electric and acoustic guitar; Marcus Miller, electric bass; Bashiri Johnson, percussion; Raymond Harris, Tick Tock Vocal Crew, vocals

There are eleven original compositions in this set, ten of which were written by saxophonist Garrett (he arranged all eleven). All of the pieces are well conceived and well charted, reflecting the composer's varied experience. To help him fulfill his ideas, Garrett has picked a strong cast.

The leader's background is impressive. It includes stints with some Jazz legends including Miles Davis and Duke Ellington. Doubtless, those tours helped prepare him well for this new release. Garrett is an on-top-of-it composer and saxophonist.

His compositions straddle a variety of moods including Jazz/rock, warm ballads, implied gospel blues, and even some rap. He has thoughtfully striven to appeal to wide listener tastes and emotions. The Tick Tock Vocal Crew's recitative has strong inner-city appeal. On alto sax, Garrett's style and sound at times recall the late Cannonball Adderley, which is no small accomplishment. His soprano sax flights are crystalline and original. This is nineties Jazz, but it should hold up well entering the much talked about Y2K. Kenny Garrett is a leader to be followed.

by Tom Bowers

New Sounds - CD Reviews March 2000