Kenny Garrett Sketches Of MD -- Out Today
Today, the dynamic saxophonist-composer Kenny Garrett releases his debut CD for Mack Avenue Records, Sketches Of MD: Live At The Iridium, featuring tenor saxophone legend Pharoah Sanders. From October 8-12 at the famed New York jazz club, Kenny will be celebrating the new release, joined by Vernell Brown on piano, Vicente Archer on bass, and Ronald Brunner on drums. The title track "Sketches of MD" is, clearly, Kenny's musings on Miles Davis, the music legend that Kenny had the honor and pleasure of recording and touring with during the last five years of Davis's life (1987-1991). "I'm playing a lot of 'colors' on this one..., ' he explains. "It's not about improvisation as much as the melodies. At the end when we break it down and do the free-for-all thing where I re-harmonize the chords over the bass line, it's all a take on my experiences with Miles. It wasn't planned. It just flowed that way. And my use of effects on the saxophone gives it a different flavor, too."
Breaking down Sketches Of MD, Kenny states, "I wanted to document the band I took on the road for Beyond the Wall while we were working with Pharoah and also write some new songs. The idea of doing the Miles-related songs just evolved. It's funkier than Beyond the Wall, but then again not really. When you think of John Coltrane's or McCoy Tyner's music, it had an ostinato, vamp kind of feel with elongated tunes. What we're doing is a little different basically because the beats are different." The result, captured before a live audience in New York City, is a soul-stirring energy exchange. "That's because this music was as new to the audience as it was to the band, " Kenny explains.
Thinking back on the time he's spent at the Iridium, it seems destined that he would record his latest statement within its ever-supportive confines. And any occasion in which he can match wits with the ever spiritual Mr. Sanders is alright with Kenny. "Pharoah's my man! We have a rapport. We challenge each other, but at the same time I'm his student. He likes that I can get the sound I get from an alto, which is similar to the tenor. It's always a blessing for me to have Pharoah in the band and to create some new music on the spot. I wanted us to create a new vision for that one week just to see what happened."
Former WEA recording artist Kenny Garrett chose Detroit-based Mack Avenue as the home for his live project for a couple of reasons. "I see Mack Avenue as an independent label with big ideas. They're making noise in my hometown, so I wanted to be a part of it. I didn't want a company that can't do something because all they know is the 'normal' way. I wanted fresh marketing - something beyond my core."
Summing up his concept of artistry, Kenny concludes, "You have to keep living and gain more experiences. It is then that you can create. Whenever I do music, I do it to the highest level I can do it. That's what it's about. When I'm not here, will the music speak for itself?"
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