Seeds from the Underground CD
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Star saxophonist Kenny Garrett's 'Seeds from the Underground', is a powerful return to the straight-ahead, acoustic quartet format that showcases his extraordinary abilities.
Over the course of a stellar career that has spanned more than 30 years, 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.
For Garrett, 'Seeds from the Underground' is a special recording. It consists solely of original compositions, and is truly a 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." Among them are Jackie McLean, Roy Haynes, Marcus Belgrave, Keith Jarrett and Christian Laviso.
Personnel: Kenny Garrett (alto and soprano saxophone, piano), Benito Gonzalez (piano), Nat Reeves (bass), Ronald Bruner (drums), Rudy Bird (bata, percussion), Nedelka Prescod (vocals)
(4 stars) This eloquent and unfailingly hip alto and soprano saxophonist is a proper superstar...his latest album is a peach. -- Evening Standard, (Jack Massarik), March 23, 2012
(4 stars) This is unadorned, classic acoustic jazz from a master on top of his game...buy this. -- Jazzwise, (Andy Robson), April 2012
Top Customer Reviews
Boogety Boogety comes in like a storm, fast and Latin-inflected. After nine minutes it fades almost as if unfinished, and at first J Mac could almost be the rest of the tune, except it's lost the Latin beat, though none of the pace and intensity. Wiggins slows things down a little and gives way to a number of tunes featuring vocals. Somehow these don't quite work here, sounding forced and a little shaky, but the piano and drums more than compensate with their solidity. On Detroit though the vocal contribution has settled, and by the time we get to Welcome Earth Song, which features a choral ensemble, that element is much more stable, although it still lacks some of the substance of similar ventures by, say, Steve Coleman (Kabbalah on Lucidarium, for example). But I'm nit-picking. It's good music.
The penultimate track, Ballad Jarrett, sees the band more relaxed and gentle, but the recording reverts to its uptempo theme to end with Laviso, I Bon?
As with the first track, several of the pieces have an upbeat, Latin groove, and Garrett's sax leads from the front, sometimes tuneful, sometimes just making a joyful sound. There's soprano in there, playing the higher registers, whilst much of the alto work is down about as far as it goes. Based on his performances on the other records, expectations were high, and Garrett, and his band, deliver.
All tunes are written by Garrett and are influenced by the people that have influenced his career past and present. As always there are good mix of influences ranging from straight ahead jazz and spiritual through to Funk and World influences.
In comparrison to Garrett's last to studio albums,this one is less straight ahead than "Standard of Language" and more harmonically rich than "Beyond the Wall".As always ,Garrett's tone is as full and hard sounding as any altoist on the planet and i also feel there is an attempt to make his approach less boppish and more spiritual on this album. With most of the tunes being lively and spirtual and with a percussionist added to several tracks, this makes for a pleasant,varied and highly enjoyable listening experience.