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Kenny Garrett: Back To The Future

By Published: October 6, 2008
AAJ: You said earlier that Nat Reeves has been on just about every one of your records. What is it about Nat's playing that makes him a good fit for you?

KG: The first thing is that he has a terrific beat and a beautiful sound. But the second thing is that he's my friend, and we go way back. We came to New York together. I have ideas, and when you perform with someone for years, you write something you think might challenge them, but at the same time, they might bring something new to the table. I think with all my friends, I try to write something that will really challenge them or some music that will inspire them to create something. With Nat, we just have this relationship, and I know that he's going to give me what I need.

align="center">Kenny Garrett

AAJ: You seem to be having a great time making music and challenging yourself to do new things.

KG: That's true. The challenge is trying to find something that will motivate you to keep going. One of the biggest lessons I learned from Miles Davis was just to be yourself and to keep going. I'm trying to write a story. And in this story, every time I close a chapter there's something new that happens. And that's life. I've traveled the world. I was recently in Taiwan, Thailand, Japan and different places, and I try to bring some of those influences and experiences in with my music. I don't try to separate, I just try to say, "This is part of who I am and I'm sharing it with the world." Like on Beyond The Wall, where it was Asia and Africa and jazz together—if I hadn't had an opportunity to go to China, I don't think that would have come to fruition.

AAJ: What's coming up next for you?

KG: I'm going to play at the Iridium, then in DC, then I'm going out with this band with [pianist] Chick Corea
Chick Corea
Chick Corea
and [guitarist] John McLaughlin
John McLaughlin
John McLaughlin
and [bassist] Christian McBride
Christian McBride
Christian McBride
and [drummer] Vinnie Colaiuta
Vinnie Colaiuta
Vinnie Colaiuta
. So I'm looking forward to that. I'm also looking forward to writing more music for the new band and trying to come up with some new concepts.

Selected Discography

Kenny Garrett, Sketches of MD (Mack Avenue, 2008)

Kenny Garrett, Beyond The Wall (Nonesuch, 2006)

Kenny Garrett, Standard Of Language (Warner Bros., 2003)

Kenny Garrett, Happy People (Warner Bros., 2002)

Kenny Garrett, Old Folks (WestWind, 2001)

Kenny Garrett, Simply Said (Warner Bros., 1999)

Kenny Garrett, Songbook (Warner Bros., 1997)

Kenny Garrett, Pursuance: The Music of John Coltrane (Warner Bros., 1996)

Kenny Garrett, Triology (Warner Bros., 1995)

Kenny Garrett, Stars & Stripes Live (ITM, 1995)

Kenny Garrett, Threshold (Warner Bros., 1994)

Kenny Garrett, Black Hope (Warner Bros., 1992)

Kenny Garrett, African Exchange Student (Atlantic, 1990)

Kenny Garrett, Prisoner Of Love (Atlantic, 1989)

Kenny Garrett, Garrett 5 (Paddle Wheel, 1988)

Kenny Garrett, Introducing Kenny Garrett (Criss Cross, 1984)

Photo Credits

Top photo: C. Andrew Hovan

Middle Photo: Jazzboo

Bottom Photo: Bill King

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Download jazz mp3 “Wayne's Thang” by Kenny Garrett