Release Date: Apr 10, 2012
Record label: Mack Avenue
Genre(s): Jazz, Post-Bop, Modal Music, Saxophone Jazz
On his sophomore Mack Avenue date, saxophonist Kenny Garrett has taken a back-to-basics approach to melodic composition with some compelling twists and turns. Seeds from the Underground is a set of ten new originals, performed by his standard group -- bassist Nat Reeves and pianist Benito Gonzalez -- with drummer Ronald Bruner (who also hails from Garrett's hometown of Detroit) and percussionist Rudy Bird. While the framework of nearly everything here stays firmly within the post-bop frame, Garrett' structural reliance on intricate, memorable melody is a keen lift-off point for group interplay.
Saxophonist Kenny Garrett’s last studio album, 2006’s Beyond the Wall, is easily one of the most enjoyable jazz releases of the last decade. Soulful, warm, and accessible, that effort deftly toed the magical tightrope between post-bop and the avant-garde. It’s true that Beyond the Wall didn’t push any of the boundaries Garrett may have purported or offer many new ideas, but its top-notch performances, infectious melodies, and propulsive rhythms resulted in something truly special.
Agifted and experienced post-Coltrane improviser, alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett's first instinct is for scorching free-sax sermons over stirring McCoy Tyneresque piano chords (his regular Venezuelan pianist Benito Gonzalez is a devoted Tyner disciple), but his problem is how to make one album marketably different from another. Seeds from the Underground does have an identity of its own – Garrett's lyrical Japanese and Korean enthusiasms are downplayed, every soulfully postboppish theme is repeated for long enough that the audience can't forget it, and there's more soul/world-music vocal content. It's an uneven, rather unfinished-sounding album, but there are two gorgeous minimal-improv ballads – the sombre, film-noirish Detroit and the almost Sidney Bechet-like Ballad Jarrett, while the gripping solos on some rhythmically tricksy uptempo pieces (influenced by his role in the Chick Corea/John McLaughlin Five Peace Band) are typically intense.
JACK WHITE “Blunderbuss” (Columbia) The good news is that Jack White’s first solo album sounds ruled by his real-time nervous system. He’s made an album of impetuousness and instinctive design. He’s allowed first-take buzzes and imperfections, created whole songs out of small and fast notions. Forcible freshness protection is his first talent.