TD Canada Trust Toronto Jazz Festival 2009
Alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett, who brought the house down a few years ago when opening up for Joshua Redman, was next on tap kicking things up with the catchy beat of "Wayne's Thang." Garrett would show his command by pointing to the next person to offer a short solo. He showed his Miles Davis allegiance by throwing in a quick reference to "Jean-Pierre." African rhythms were amplified by Justin Brown on drums and Kona Khasu on bass on "Charlie Brown Goes To South Africa." Following a slow blues introduced by Corey Henry on the Fender Rhodes and another piece with a subtle Latin flavour featuring Garrett playing a few notes on the keyboard, the audience needed a pick-me-up of the musical kind. It came under the guise of a lengthy rendition of "Happy People," on which everyone was invited to sing along and clap. The music would restart as soon as the audience expected the end with Garrett urging on more cheers.
The evening ended with Sadao Watanabe and his 6-piece band showcasing various styles from funk to Latin along with his talented musicians from Japan. N'diasse Niang, originally from Senegal but now a Japanese citizen, showcased his decorated percussion instrument to provide the appropriate rhythmic touch on pieces such as "Alalake-Lopin.'" Following a light bossa, Watanabe introduced a tune that he explained he had tried to build as a samba, but when it didn't meet his own expectations, it was given the name "Not Quiet Samba." It had more of a "smooth jazz" than samba feel to it. Watanabe eventually closed the show after midnight on an intimate note accompanied only by Akira Onozuka on acoustic piano with a fitting Jobim ballad.