416

Kenny Garrett: Sketches of MD: Live at The Iridium

Greg Thomas By

Sign in to view read count
Kenny Garrett: Sketches of MD: Live at The Iridium

Kenny Garrett continues his mélange of modal exploration with Sketches of MD: Live at The Iridium. The recording is a sequel to Beyond the Wall, Garrett’s early collaboration with Pharoah Sanders, and is a snapshot of his progression.

The opening number, “The Ring,” starts with a dramatic theme stated by the alto-tenor front line. Garrett and Sanders traverse late-Trane territory in their improvisations yet they rarely scale the heights of propulsion or evoke their earlier spiritual majesty.

Like a seafaring explorer, Garrett rides waves of tradition and innovation to shores of his own making. He confidently fuses jazz and blues with allusions to gospel, funk and fusion as well as Asian and African music as on “Intro to Africa” where the Protestant Afro-American church tradition shines through.

Drummer Jamire Williams’ backbeat grounds the title tune, dedicated to Miles, with whom Garrett performed in the last five years of the trumpeter’s life. Garrett employs electronic effects, creating a sound collage that evokes the post-Bitches Brew period. The spacey mood is amplified when the backbeat ends and the quintet plays with a modified free approach.

Garrett is fond of song and album tributes, a refreshing sign of love and respect for his jazz elders. “Wayne’s Thang” refers to Wayne Shorter and, thankfully, the rhythm section finally gets some. The liberal use of breaks gives each player room for short solos; at first the interplay between Gonzalez and Garrett carries the piece until bassist Nat Reeves takes a few riffs, including a too-brief 4/4 walk, a tease for lovers of straight-ahead swing.

Yet the audience’s clapping participation on “Wayne’s Thang” and vocalizations on the feel-good, dance-beat closer “Happy People” shows other interpretations of Ellington’s dictum, “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing.”  I’m confessin’, though, that a little taste more of swing rhythm would have made this listener happier.


Track Listing: The Ring; Intro To Africa; Sketches Of MD; Wayne's Thang; Happy People.

Personnel: Kenny Garrett: alto saxophone; Benito Gonzales: piano; Nat Reeves: bass; Jamire Williams: drums; Pharaoh Sanders: tenor saxophone.

Title: Sketches of MD: Live At The Iridium | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Mack Avenue Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 27, 2017
Read The Late Trane CD/LP/Track Review The Late Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Oaktree" CD/LP/Track Review Oaktree
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 12, 2017
Read "Floa" CD/LP/Track Review Floa
by Phil Barnes
Published: July 23, 2016
Read "The Day After" CD/LP/Track Review The Day After
by David A. Orthmann
Published: February 14, 2017
Read "High Noon" CD/LP/Track Review High Noon
by Anthony Shaw
Published: September 10, 2016
Read "Allied Forces" CD/LP/Track Review Allied Forces
by David A. Orthmann
Published: November 13, 2016
Read "Night Music" CD/LP/Track Review Night Music
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 4, 2016

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.