'Pushing the World Away', Kenny Garrett's seventeenth album as a leader, captures him at the peak of his creative abilities, both as a saxophonist and as a composer.
Garrett pays tribute to a number of his influences - friends and heroes that include Chick Corea ("Hey, Chick"), Chucho Valdés ("Chucho's Mambo"), Sonny Rollins ("J'Ouvert") and Garrett's musical confidant and album co-producer, Donald Brown ("Brother Brown").
Mentored himself by Art Blakey and Miles Davis Garrett feels it his duty to carry on that tradition by encouraging young talent. So he drew on a wide pool of musicians on this session, newcomers as well as older hands. In addition to regular quintet member Donald Brown the other two pianists he used, Vernell Brown and Benito Gonzalez, are both graduates of the informal Kenny Garrett School of Music. The drummers include McClenty Hunter, Marcus Baylor and Mark Whitfield Jr. and the featured percussionist Rudy Bird has now been added to Garrett's working group.
In all, 'Pushing the World Away' features twelve tunes, all of which were composed by Garrett except for one cover, a superb, lyrical, odd-metered take on the Burt Bacharach/Hal David song "I Say a Little Prayer".
Personnel: Kenny Garrett (alto saxophone and soprano saxophone, chant, piano), Benito Gonzalez (piano), Corcoran Holt (bass), Marcus Baylor, Mark Whitfield, Jr. (drums), McClenty Hunter (drums, vocals), Rudy Bird (percussion, cymbals, gong), Ravi Best (trumpet), Vernell Brown (piano, chant), Jean Baylor (vocals), Track 10: Carolin Pook (violin) Brian Sanders (cello), Jen Herman (viola)
'Exhilarating new recording...Garrett has hit another high in his recording career.' -- Jazzwise, (Selwyn Harris), October 2013 * * * *
'Kenny Garrett performs at such consistently high levels that his hip melodies, intense expressionism and rhythmic discipline can easily be taken for granted. Yet he remains jazz's lead saxophonist, and, as his latest CD shows, is a canny composer of built-for-purpose themes.' -- Financial Times, (Mike Hobart), September 14, 2013 * * * *
' Promiscuously mixes Latin rhythms with whip-smart post-bop...a typical Garrett production: irresistibly peppy and exuberant, yet graceful, even elegant in its assured adherence to the core jazz values of swing and improvisatory imagination.' -- LondonJazzNews, (Chris Parker), September 27, 2013
'There are great moments of spontaneity, as when the band comes in again joyfully after a false ending on 'That's It'. Garrett's lyrical side shows through too, especially when he puts down his alto sax to play piano on 'Brother Brown'.'
--Hi Fi News, (Steve Harris), December 2013