A stormy night from Garrett’s sax“Someone should post a storm warning prior to a Kenny Garrett concert,” a Washington Post music critic once wrote. Garrett, a Grammy Award-nominated saxophonist, is known for muscular playing, seemingly inexhaustible improvisations and hard bop energy - all that a musical storm can be. On tour for his new album, “The Standard of Language,” Garrett will be touching down in Seoul for a 7:30 concert tonight at the Seoul Arts Center in southern Seoul.
Garrett got on his path to fame while playing in Detroit at a time when Motown was kicking. But he, along with contemporaries Geri Allen, a pianist, and Regina Carter, a violinist, soaked up a great deal from the jazz community, particularly the trumpeter Marcus Belgrave.
Garrett moved to New York in the early ‘80s, and in 1984 came out with his first recording as a band leader, “Introducing Kenny Garrett,” with Woody Shaw on trumpet and an as-yet unknown, Mulgrew Miller at the piano. But it was with another trumpeter, Miles Davis, that Garrett won international acclaim.
In Davis’s last years, he gathered a new generation of jazz leaders like Garrett, John Scofield, Mike Stern and Bob Berg. VH1 wrote: “It would be fair to say that Kenny Garrett was the main musical force in Miles Davis’s final band, and perhaps the last truly special young musician to emerge from the Davis hothouse.”
After Davis’s death, Garrett took on diverse projects, from working with musicians like Sting and Peter Gabriel to the New Jersey symphony and hip-hop legend Guru. Along the way, he won a spot on Rolling Stone magazine’s “hot list.”
His latest album, “Standard of Language,” consists mainly of original compositions. The title track, an epic three-part piece, is his first suite. Songs include “Kurita Sensei,” a 6/8 groove with a melody inspired by Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints.” Garrett, who has performed in Japan extensively and Korea once before, dedicates “Kurita” to his Japanese teacher. He wrote “Doc Tone’s Short Speech” with the late Kenny Kirkland, a former band mate, in mind. Garrett will be performing with pianist Carlos McKinney, bassist Christopher Funn and drummer Ronald Brunner.
by Joe Yong-hee
For more information, go to the Web site at www.sac.or.kr. Tickets are 30,000 ($25) to 70,000 won.