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  • Seeds From The Underground Seeds From The Underground Quick View

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    Seeds From The Underground

    Over the course of a stellar career that has spanned more than 30 years, saxophonist Kenny Garrett has become the preeminent alto saxophonist of his generation. From his first gig with the Duke Ellington Orchestra (led by Mercer Ellington) through his time spent with musicians such as Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers and Miles Davis, Garrett has always brought a vigorous yet melodic, and truly distinctive, alto saxophone sound to each musical situation. As a bandleader for the last two decades, he has also continually grown as a composer. With his latest recording (and second for Mack Avenue Records), Seeds From The Underground, Garrett has given notice that these qualities have not only become more impressive, but have provided him with the platform to expand his horizons and communicate his musical vision clearly. Seeds From The Underground is a powerful return to the straight-ahead, acoustic and propulsive quartet format that showcases Garrett's extraordinary abilities.


    For Garrett, Seeds From The Underground is a special recording. It once again consists of all original compositions, and is truly an homage to those who have inspired and influenced him, both personally and musically. "All of these songs are dedicated to someone," says Garrett. "And the 'seeds' have been planted, directly or indirectly, by people who have been instrumental in my development."


    With Seeds From The Underground Garrett has crafted a project that offers his appreciation while always making the listener aware of his band's skillful approach to melody, harmony and rhythm. From personal nods such as the opening track "Boogety Boogety," dedicated to his memory of watching western films with his father (the title refers to the sound of a galloping horse); "Wiggins," which references his high school band director Bill Wiggins; and "Detroit," an evocative, reflective composition about his hometown, and a celebration of mentor Marcus Belgrave; to his appreciation of some of his musical heroes on "J Mac" (Jackie McLean); "Haynes Here" (Roy Haynes); and "Do Wo Mo" (Duke Ellington, Woody Shaw and Thelonious Monk).


    Melody, as a matter of fact, was a key element for the saxophonist when writing for the recording. "I wanted to focus on the melody," Garrett reflects. "I want people to remember what the melody is before we start improvising and on some songs I heard voices, the singing of the melody." This latter point is in evidence on the selections "Haynes Here," "Detroit" and "Welcome Earth Song."


    Another notable component compositionally for Garrett on Seeds From The Underground is his approach to rhythm and meter. Over the past few years, one of the most popular and acclaimed groups that he has been a part of is the GRAMMY® award winning Five Peace Band, joining guitarist John McLaughlin, pianist Chick Corea, bassist Christian McBride, and drummers Vinnie Colaiuta and Brian Blade. His participation in that band led him to experiment with writing in different meters. "Some of these songs are in odd meters; in my experience with John, we played some songs in odd meters, so I thought, this is a different way of writing songs," Garrett states. "So there is some of that approach here."


    Garrett's current working band is very much up to the task on Seeds From The Underground. And like all successful bandleaders, Garrett knows what he wants musically and has formed a band that will best communicate his message (with implicit trust among one another). Bassist Nat Reeves is a rhythmic anchor and a long-standing member of Garrett's past aggregations. However, for this recording, Garrett thought a lot about the talents of fellow Detroiter, drummer Ronald Bruner, as well as Venezuelan pianist Benito Gonzalez. "When I decided I wanted to do the album, I had Ronald in mind; I thought that he would work well on these songs. And Benito has been in my band for a while, and we talked conceptually about how I hear the piano in the band. McCoy Tyner is my man, so I wanted to have more of that sound, and there aren't a lot of young guys around who are dealing with that like Benito is." Percussionist Rudy Bird also provides a driving, rhythmic pulse to the recording.


    A very important contributor to Seeds From The Underground is the project's co-producer: pianist, composer and educator, Donald Brown. His friendship with Garrett goes back to their days with Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers. He has been an integral part of past Garrett recordings, and has been a musical inspiration for him. "I feel comfortable in the studio with him and I know he's going to hear what I hear, because we think alike in how we hear music," states Garrett. "I've also always admired his compositions and he was really inspired by these compositions, so he was glad that we were able to hook back up on this project."


    Garrett has always expressed interest in music from other parts of the world. Whether it's Africa, Greece, Indonesia, China or Guadeloupe, he immerses himself in the culture and gleans from his experience something that becomes a part of his artistic message. On Seeds From The Underground, the African-influenced "Welcome Earth Song" and "Laviso, I Bon?" (the latter was inspired by a musician friend in Guadeloupe) are prime examples.


    The album highlights Garrett's overall approach to music: wide-ranging, receiving ideas from all musical sources and genres. Garrett states, "I love the challenge of trying to stay open about music and about life. If it's music, I just try to check it out. Right now I'm listening to some music from Martinique and I'm lovin' it. If I like it, maybe I can incorporate some of it into what I do." As for composing: "I don't try to control what I write," he says. "Music comes from 'The Creator.' It's a gift that's coming in, and I receive it. I write in all genres, and I'm writing all the time. It's never about what it is I just say thank you."


    Seeds From The Underground is the latest stop on what continues to be a fascinating musical journey for Kenny Garrett and his listeners. It's a recording that is not only a significant personal statement from the saxophonist, but a musical declaration of his continued growth as a musician, and in particular, as a composer.

    1. Boogety Boogety
    2. J. Mac
    3. Wiggins
    4. Haynes Here
    5. Detroit
    6. Seeds from the Underground
    7. Du-Wo-Mo
    8. Welcome Earth Song
    9. Ballad Jarrett
    10. Laviso, I Bon?
    Kenny Garrett
    $27.99
    180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
  • Friends (Awaiting Repress) Friends (Awaiting Repress) Quick View

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    Friends (Awaiting Repress)

    A release that its creator Stanley Jordan cites as his most realized project to date finds him in challenging company: fellow strummers Charlie Hunter, Russell Malone, Bucky Pizzarelli and Mike Stern; saxmen (and label mate) Kenny Garrett and Ronnie Laws; N'awlins trumpeter Nicholas Payton and the renown violinist Regina Carter. Another
    label mate, Christian McBride, guests on bass when not handled by Stanley's long-time trio bassist Charnett Moffett. Kenwood Dennard of his trio holds down the drum chair. Truly, a collection of Friends whose benefits push Stanley into a heightened musical reality.
    1. Capitol J
    2. Walkin' The Dog
    3. Lil' Darlin'
    4. Giant Steps
    5. I Kissed A Girl
    6. Samba Delight
    7. Seven Come Eleven
    8. Bathed In Light
    9. Bartok Duet
    10. Reverie
    11. One For Milton
    Stanley Jordan
    $27.99
    180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
  • Ain't It Hard! Garage & Psych from Viva Records Ain't It Hard! Garage & Psych from Viva Records Quick View

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    Ain't It Hard! Garage & Psych from Viva Records

    The short-lived Viva Records label was one wildly eclectic outfit. Helmed by hitmaker Snuff Garrett, this Los Angeles-based imprint targeted the teen marketplace with a series of extraordinary garage / psych / pop singles. The labels command of popular styles prevailed across these Top 40 hopefuls, ranging from the stomping beat of the Shindogs to the psych-fuzz nirvana of the Sound Sandwich. And theres Class of 66 garage-grunge from the Wailers and the Second Helping (yes, thats a teenage Kenny Loggins howling at the moon on the positively snarling Let Me In, among other selections). With a supporting cast led by Leon Russell and J.J. Cale and bolstered with choice Snuff Garrett Productions like Gypsy Trips and Sunday Servants, Aint It Hard! stands as an essential anthology of Sunset Strip sixties sounds!

    1. Apothecary Dream - The Sound Sandwich
    2. Let Me In - The Second Helping
    3. Psychotic Reaction - The Leathercoated Minds
    4. I Don't Want to Follow You - The Wailers

    5. Ain't It Hard - Gypsy Trips
    6. Hard Times - The Second Helping
    7. Eight Miles High - The Leathercoated Minds
    8. On Friday - The Second Helping
    9. Tow Away - The Sound Sandwich
    10. Who Do You Think You Are - The Shindogs
    11. Floating Downstream on an Inflatable Rubber Raft - The Second Helping
    12. Zig Zag News - The Sound Sandwich
    Various Artists
    $24.99
    Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
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