Beyond the Wall
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Beyond the Wall

28 Aug 2006 | Format: MP3

£7.99 (VAT included if applicable)
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  • Original Release Date: 25 Aug 2006
  • Release Date: 25 Aug 2006
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • Copyright: 2006 Nonesuch Records, Inc.
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:16:41
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  • ASIN: B001F30OWU
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 409,466 in MP3 Albums (See Top 100 in MP3 Albums)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. D. Naylor TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 8 Oct 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is somewhat a concept album for Kenny Garrett based around his recent visit to China and more importantly his visit to the great wall itself.This most definitely is not a straight ahead hard bop date with all melodies having a distinct flavour of the Orient.Do not be put of though as there is much fine music to be enjoyed here and he brings in some heavyweight talent to pull it off.Pharoah Sanders brings his own unique rasping spiritual sounding tenor sax to the proceedings and with the always classy Mulgrew Miller on Piano and some propulsive drumming from Brian Blade you start to get the picture of the quality music in store for you.
Both Garrett and Sanders play fairly straight ahead on some tracks with others more spirtitual and world music flavoured with vocal chanting/mantras added to put you more spiritually in tune with the music.
This is quite a bold step for Garrett,one that a lot of musicians could not succeed with but Garrett is,after all, one of the worlds great alto sax players par excellence.
On the whole Garrett has created some fresh exciting and passionate music here the only down side is that myself and maybe other regular Garrett fans may not immediately endear themselves to the spiritual side of the album but hey, it'll grow on you just give it time.
Different but quality stuff.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JazzListener on 28 Mar 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A stellar group led by a brilliant saxophonist, a reverential press, a concept album with spiritual overtones; what could possibly go wrong? Well, quite a lot, actually. Admittedly, the first two tracks are crackerjacks,in particular the brilliant Coltrane-influenced opener.But from here, almost every track seems infected by one gimmick or other,- intrusive superfluous vocals,slushy soft jazz, Buddhist chanting, Garrett playing the piano, strange instrumentation, faux-emotionalism, - only track 7 ("Now") escapes relatively unscathed from the muddle. The playing of Miller on piano is particularly disappointing, all fingers-and-thumbs and offering poorly articulated solos throughout. Two jazz titans, Hutcherson and Blade remain subdued, and only Sanders is on top, slightly idiosynchratic, form. This is all a pity because Garrett's own performance is superb on every track. I understand that Garrett is trying to create original, serious and spiritual music, but for all the effort, commitment and good intentions, the CD is overblown and ultimately, a disappointment.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 19 reviews
31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Beyond the Wall 31 Aug 2006
By Matthew Miller - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I have been a fan of Kenny Garrett for a while now, but he has come to a new high. "Beyond the Wall" is an amazing new albulm which demonstrates the a new muscial sense that i had not seen in Garrett before. That is not to say that he didnt have musical sense in his earlier albulms, he certainly did, but this is something newer to him: a larger band orchestrating more complex music, which is at times sweet and others harsh. A perfect blend.

The central group (i say central because there are numerous extra musicians that vary from track to track) consists of Kenny (of course), jazz legend Pharaoh Sanders on tenor saxophone, Mulgrew Miller on piano, Robert Hurst on bass, Brian Blade on drums and Bobby hutcherson on vibes. Even without the extra musicians I mentioned, this already a larger group than he tends to work with (if past albulms are anything to judge by) and it couldnt suit him better. Sanders, who I know best for his work with the "new" Coltrane Quartet, ive never really liked; his work always seems brash and lacking melodic sense. He is not like that here. Both he and Kenny share a keen sense of solo and harmony, in a few places improving at the same time. On this Albulm Sanders is a perfect complement to Garrett. This albulm is dedicated to my personal idol, McCoy Tyner, and this dedication is apparent Miller's piano. While few can rival Tyner's distinct, inventive playing, Miller clearly has taken a lot from him, and produces some excellent solo work. Both Brian Blade (drums) and Bobby Hutcherson (vibes) i have liked in the past, and i can only say they live up to their past work. Robert Hurst (bass), however, i havent payed much attention to in the past, and i was pleasantly surprised when i started listening. The first comparative person i thought of was Jimmy Garrison (A piller, along with Tyner and Elvin jones, of the classic Coltrane Quartet).

The music is varied and interesting. Garret conceived this Albulm after a trip to China (hence the Great wall of China being on the cover) which gave him an asian inspiration to work with. Dont misunderstand though, this is certainly a work of jazz, not of traditional Chinese music; the influence is not necessarily apparent on every track. In some tracks whatever asian influence is not necessarily readily apparent, whereas in others it is. This leads to an albulm that doesnt sound the same from track to track. It reamins fresh and innovative from start to finish, with some help from a number of extra musicians on a few songs. Garrett even brought in a traditional instrument on one song.

With such influence and excellent musicians to back him, Kenny succeeds in making every song interesting in its own right, even if the song is eleven minutes long, it does not get boring, an issue that ive seen in many jazz musicians. Well orchestrated heads lead into well improved solos which lead into well orchestrated codas, it all flows so well. It Culminates in the last track, "May Peace Be Upon Them", which is just Kenny and the Rythm section. Here Garrett best demonstrates what a musician he is; It is a beautiful and powerful testament to his inspiration.

I decided to buy this albulm because i liked much of Garrets previous work, and i can say that i am more than happy that i got it. I finish this review only a few hours after having bought it, impressed enough to listen through it a few times and write review, in the hope that i might impress upon you the quality of this cd. If you are a fan of Garrett, this is a must have.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Excellent mixed Bag 26 Sep 2006
By M. Murphy - Published on
Format: Audio CD
As a big fan of Garrett I looked forward to Kenny's latest after the excellent cd Standard of Language. What I got was a very excellent spiritual[think Love Supreme like]group of tunes in addition to a couple of annoying chant songs. Garrett plays wonderfully[as always] and is surrounded by the best supporting cast he's ever assembled. Mulgrew Miller on piano is wonderful and Pharoah Sanders is restrained in a good way. The real problem becomes the voices. As either backround harmonizing or outright "chanting" they don't work. I appreciate Kenny's recent spiritual awakening inspired by his trip to China. In fact both Calling[the opener] and May Peace Be Upon Them are darn near "Train-like". Five stars without the vocal Four stars with. But at over 70 minutes there's alot to like. Plus it's Kenny after all. Bold and an "almost classic".
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Brilliance...interrupted 16 Feb 2007
By Jon Dough - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Tracks 1, 2, 7 and 9 ("Calling", "Beyond the Wall", "Now", and "May Peace Be Upon Them") are nothing short of brilliant! This is exciting, modern hard-bop at its best, and the execution is superb.

Tracks 3 and 8 ("Qing Wen" and "Gwoka") are equally brilliant compositions, superbly played, but inexcusably interrupted by irritating and cheesy vocals. The worst of these occurs in "Qing Wen" where we are forced to endure increasingly hysterical bleating approximately every 10-15 seconds for the entire song, interrupting some excellent soloing. "Gwoka" follows this repetitious pattern, albeit less frequently and with a more subdued vocal chorus.

Track 4 ("Realization...") is an atmospheric piece that loops over a 2 second Tibetan chant for the duration of the song. I actually think this track works as a nice contemplative interlude, although the chanting does tend to get monotonous by the end.

Track 5 ("Tsunami Song") is an out of place throwaway. The melody is pretty, but here we have Garrett playing very unremarkable piano, along with a Chinese erhu and some strings. As pleasant as it is, this tune would have been more at home on the soundtrack for "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon".

Finally, in Track 6 ("Kiss to the Skies") we get a glimpse of Garret's worst tendencies in some thinly disguised smooth jazz.

Despite these glaring flaws, the high points on this disc are so strong that it is worthy of 4 stars. Garrett's (or his producer's) overindulgence unfortunately spoiled an otherwise masterpiece.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Fun CD 17 Nov 2006
By ScottW - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'm a massive KG fan and this album is excellent. It's not my fav (Songbook is) but it's very interesting to listen to. I enjoy the whole album and I like to listen to it as it is laid out (not on "Shuffle" mode). I don't have a favorite track necessarily as I enjoy the whole album.

If you're looking for jazz standards then this is one to skip. If you want original approaches and enjoy someone trying something new while still swinging, then try it.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By o dubhthaigh - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
From its opening "Calling", it is clear that the Asian influences present here have more to do with western Asia and Tibet than they do with anything overtly "Chinese" or Eastern or Southern Asia, as the cover art and most reviews seem to indicate. "Calling" is infused with an Islamic sensibility that might not be at all alien in Kazahkstan, Uzbekistan, and the further reaches of the Silk Road. There is an undeniable Coltrane influence in the plaintive call from the twin minarets of Pharaoh Saunders and Kenny Garrett, which gallops off across the steppes in "Beyond the Wall," clearly a homage to the transporting polyrhythms of McCoy Tyner. "Qing Wen" has some gorgeous vocalizations that would not be out of place in Pat Metheny context, and they are set off to powerfully spiritua; effect by the Tibetan chant that is at the heart of the "Realization." It's a remarkable joourney all the way to the impassioned fervour of "May Peace Be Upon Them," as clearly evocative of latter Coltrane as the opening "Calling," and bringing a spiritual whole to this remarkable collection.

While the music herein is inspired by Garrett's sojourn in China, clearly his imagination travelled further. In that, the presence of Coltrane is certainly just below the surface. But Garrett is his own man at all times, neither a fastidious and short sighted conservator of a tradition nor an undisciplined free player without vision. In his case it seems always to be about preparing oneself so that what is Uncovered may lean over and take you into its confidence. There are certainly homages to Trane, McCoy, Islam and Buddhism, but it's all a whole lot more than that as well. To that end, this is certainly one of the most compelling spiritual releases since Coltrane's trips to the East. There is throughout among Saunders and Miller, Blade and Hutcherson, Hurst and garrett a sense that the group as a band of brothers is on a retreat. Their hejira happens to be across an Asian landscape, but it is one in which the players have become something and someone other than their formiddable reputations.

I would tell you that you are unlikely to listen to as remarkable a journey by any other artist in any other discipline, with the possible inclusion of Yusuf Islam's forthcoming AN OTHER CUP and Arvo Part's DE PACEM, than this incredible, inspiring collection of meditations by one of the most important musicians of our times and his devoted colleagues.

Exhilarating and astounding, profound and exciting, this is the best jazz CD I have heard in a very, very long time. Humbling....
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