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Triology by Kenny Garrett
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Kenny Garrett is among the most passionate and skillful of the younger generation of alto saxophonists, and he makes particularly effective use of the trio format with just bass and drum accompaniment, developing great harmonic freedom and tense rhythmic dialogues with drummer Brian Blade. There are shades of older giants like Sonny Stitt, Jackie McLean, and even Ornette Coleman in his approach, but Garrett brings his own intensity and ideas to this 1995 recording, whether he's playing his taut originals, a tune as familiar as "In Your Own Sweet Way," or a neglected ballad like "A Time for Love." Something of a Coltrane specialist (his CD Pursuance is devoted to Coltrane compositions), Garrett manages to sound more than credible even on "Giant Steps," among the most daunting of Coltrane's tunes. --Stuart Broomer
Top customer reviews
Well, Keith Garrett co-produces this CD with Donald Brown and it features Garrett on alto saxophone, with Kiyoshi Katagawa on bass and Brian Blade on drums (except for on "Night & Day", "A Time For Love" & "Koranne Said", where the bass is played by Charnett Moffett). The album is "dedicated to the living legends of the Tenor Saxophone: Sonny Rollins & Joe Henderson" and I think that sentiment definitely comes through in the music.
Maybe it's the alto sound but this particular CD I really like. I was halfway through the CD before I even realised that I wasn't missing the lack of guitar or keyboard in the slightest. The album is full of life, full of warmth. The upbeat tunes are exciting and the ballads are soothing. I love every single song.
On the basis of this album I will be much more likely to give the trio format a try but I will either stick to Kenny Garrett or look out for other alto saxophonists. In that respect, with regard to this particular CD, thankfully, my let's-try-something-new experiment has worked out fine.
Five stars easy.
Some words on the music...
"Delfeayo's Dilemma" by Wynton Marsalis opens the album, a burner of a tune, kind of open harmonically, and perhaps the hardest tune to follow on the record.
"Night And Day" by Cole Porter is really good here, very playful and cool. Garrett streches out, takes his time and makes it his tune. The soloing is absolutely top notch, the build-up of the solo is masterful.
"Giant Steps" by the great, late John Coltrane is next, played in a really up-beat manner, nodding at the version that is to come on the "Pursuance:..." album. Garrett once again takes his time, plays with the melody for a long time. It is truly a great tune, and Garrett pays due before he also here manages to build a truly interesting solo.
"A Time For Love", a beautiful, beautiful ballad by Johnny Mandel and Paul Francis Webster, is given the really slow treatment here, Garrett is really singing, Brian Blade is as tasteful as ever on the drums (brushes). A welcome break in the up-beat program.
"Wayne's Thang", one of Kenny Garrett's signature tunes, is up next. It has a kind of second-line groove, a simple bass ostinato that goes through three chords, and a melody which is quite funny. Garrett is playing excellent here, he is so much fun to listen to! He works for a long time with his ideas, letting the song grow, building and building towards a climax with several long, high notes that leaves you gasping for air, before he takes us back to earth.
"Pressing The Issue" by Mulgrew Miller is a tune that may take some listening to truly appreciate, but once you do, its intricate turns and original melody and groove changing is about to please big time.
"Koranne Said" is another Kenny Garrett original, a very singable tune in a somewhat upbeat manner. It boasts, as usual on his originals, exceptional playing by Garrett.
"Oriental Towaway Zone" introduces Garrett's trademark-to-be toying with Eastern motifs and scales. It is an interesting number toward the end of a great album.
"In Your Own Sweet Way", the Dave Brubeck standard, is given a cool treatment. It's sort of low-down, but takes a strong build through the soloing, where Garrett sings, double-times, has fun. Garrett once again is comfortable with the tune, playing with the melody, and making a strong, personal solo. His choice of standards on this album really fits his style, or; he manages to make every tune his own like a true master.
"What Is This Thing Called Love", another Cole Porter song, is the closing number on the album, played really fast and with plenty of vigor.
The album leaves you sort of exhausted, because listening the whole album through, with the open trio format and very modern playing requires a lot of attention to truly appreciate. This being said, it is a monster album, and every jazz fan should buy it!
Kenny Garrett - alto saxophone
Kiyoshi Kitagawa - bass
Brian Blade - drums
Charnett Moffett - bass on "Night And Day", "A Time For Love" & Koranne Said"