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Kenny Garrett

Although saxophonist, bandleader, and composer Kenny Garrett never had the benefit of a college education, that hasn't hurt his career as a jazz musician one bit. Garrett has released a number of critically acclaimed albums for the Warner Bros. label and, prior to the birth of his recording career, earned his master's degree in the jazz clubs in and around his native Detroit. Garrett's father was a carpenter who played tenor saxophone as an avocation. He got his first saxophone as an eight-year-old and quickly learned the G scale, thanks to his father. He studied with trumpeter Marcus Belgrave and began performing with Mercer Ellington's band before he had finished high school. His first few professional shows were with Detroit area musicians Belgrave and pianist Geri Allen. He felt he had arrived as a saxophonist when he was asked to join the Duke Ellington Orchestra under the direction of Mercer Ellington. He skipped college and went on the road with the band for the summer and ended up staying with them for three and a half years.

Garrett was raised in the Detroit jazz scene of the 1970s, which wasn't nearly as vibrant as it had been a decade earlier. In high school, he had the good fortune to play with organist Lyman Woodard locally in Detroit, but recalls having to travel an hour or two from home to maintain his status as a working musician. He was encouraged to begin writing his own compositions by various members of Ellington's band, and began doing so a short time later. Aside from alto and soprano saxes, Garrett also uses the piano to compose. Prior to his rise under his own name as a bandleader and composer, Garrett had the opportunity to perform and record with Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, and the aforementioned Ellington orchestra.

In 1982, he relocated to New York City, the jazz capital of the world. Garrett made his recording debut with Introducing Kenny Garrett on the Criss Cross label in 1984 and then jumped to Atlantic Records, a major label which, at that time, was interested in rebuilding its once glorious jazz legacy. He recorded two notable albums for Atlantic, Prisoner of Love and African Exchange Student. He began recording for Warner Bros. in 1992, when he released his stunning, critically praised Black Hope. He followed up in 1995 with Triology, and recorded Pursuance: The Music of John Coltrane in 1996. He released Songbook, his first album made up entirely of his own compositions, in 1997.

Since then, his other releases have included Simply Said, Happy People, and Standard of Language, all for Warner Bros.; 2006's Grammy-nominated Beyond the Wall on Nonesuch; and the 2008 live outing (recorded at N.Y.C.'s Iridium club) Sketches of MD, issued by Detroit's Mack Avenue label. In addition, Garrett joined the all-star lineup of the Five Peace Band -- spearheaded by keyboardist Chick Corea and guitarist John McLaughlin and also featuring bassist Christian McBride and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta -- for touring and recording during the late 2000s; the group's Five Peace Band: Live CD (Concord, 2009) won the Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Album in January 2010. Garrett has proven to be a most versatile player, equally at home playing classic blues and rhythm & blues as he is interpreting classic jazz compositions and even moving in a fusion direction. As a composer himself, his full potential may still lie ahead, with more bright moments in the offing in the recording studio and on-stage for this talented arranger, composer, musician, and bandleader. Garrett recorded the all original Seeds from the Underground with his own group -- bassist Nat Reeves and Venezuelan pianist Benito Gonzalez -- and utilized the talents of drummer Ronald Bruner from Detroit. The album was issued in the spring of 2012. ~ Richard Skelly, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Sketches Of Md Live At The Iridium

Comments

poppa_bear49
STRIKING...s s s s s s s s s s s s s s s i z z l e . The man flat out COOKS!!
Kenny's one Baaad boy, I saw as a young player in Detroit, and we all knew he was headed for greatness. We all called him Young Blood, as his dad would bring him to all the Jam sessions. He also went to my high school Mackenzie High in Detroit, and he studied under the great Bill Wiggins.
The real Kenny G
Yeah, with Pat Metheney.
Saw him at Iridium in New York City in April . .He is at his best when adding to the Hard Bop repertoire.. I t was an amazing experience
solblack
Simply the Man!
I feel yah...relaxe d , thinking music for the soul. i like the construction of the forms and related patterns in his work.
Kenny has a "Likability"
I lived next door to Kenny Garrett for two years. They were the best two years of jazz I have ever lived. I miss the free music that shaped my children's love music. Kenny Garrett is one of the best jazz sax men out there today!
mhodgdon1
there's a garrett solo on a Miles Davis album (i think Live around the world) and I think the solo is on a Michael Jackson tune (human nature?) and it is BAD@$$! (I forget all the names/albums , sorry)
billdub54
I don't know enough about Jazz to make an intelligent comment, but I know what I like and I like Kenny Garrett
making34
super baad
webbspot2
Sonny Stitt
lineage is a mother f, lateef lives, wayne lives, trane lives, bobby h. lives..u right, just a baaaaad boy
JUST A BAAAAD BOY!!!!
HAVE A NEW ONE OUT RECORED LIVE AT THE IRDIDIUM JAZZ CLUB IN NEW YORK CALLED "SKETCHES OF MD"

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