April 17, 2003

Test Spin: Kenny Garret

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Surely, you’ve heard of Faith Hill, Linkin Park, and the notorious Madonna — all artists on the Warner Brothers music label. What you may not have known about was the handful of musicians with WB Jazz. For nearly 20 years now, Alto/Soprano Saxophone player Kenny Garret has been laying it down. Now he has released his eighth album with WB, Standard of Language, though it’s his thirteenth overall. This joint is hard-hitting, yet smooth. Nearly every piece is self-written, aside from the album’s opener, “What Is This Thing Called Love,” which is a Cole Porter jam, arranged by Garrett. With some sweet underlying melodies, the Kenny Garret Quartet plays a swinging groove. There’s Hip-hop drummer Chris Dave, along with veteran Charnett Moffetta on the bass, and the free-spirited Vernell Brown ticklin’ the ivories. They’re the same crew that toured with Garrett, playing the hits from his 2002 album Happy People. On this, his latest album though, the former Miles Davis and Jazzmatazz sideman is more free-blowing, with a vibrancy you can’t resist. I guarantee this cat’s album, Standard of Language will put you in a good move every time you listen to it. You don’t play this one, it plays itself.

Archived article by Jonathon Hampton