The Career of Jazz Musician: Kenny Garrett’s The Saxophone Maestro

Written By Sonny Akbar Sembada

Hi, my name is Sonny Akbar Sembada and I welcome you to my blog, The Uncle Jazz. The main topic of my blog is everything related to jazz music.. 

Let’s dive into the career of jazz musician Kenny Garrett’s – the saxophone maestro who’s jammed with legends like Miles Davis, Art Blakey, and Donald Byrd.

Doing the solo thing for over 30 years, and guess what? Just snagged a Grammy for his latest vibe, “Sounds From The Ancestors.” Kenny’s on a roll!

The Career of Jazz Musician

This ain’t your typical jazz album, my friend. Kenny’s flipping the script, inspired by the groove of Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye. It’s like Miles Davis’s rebel move in “On the Corner,” creating this cool universe of beats and improv.

the career of jazz musician. Kenny spills the beans, “I wanted those sounds from my childhood – Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme,’ Aretha’s ‘Amazing Grace,’ Marvin’s ‘What’s Going On,’ and those soulful church vibes.” It’s like he’s channeling the spirit of his roots.

Tracks Worth a Nod

First up, “It’s Time to Come Home” – an Afro-Cuban jam that’s got you swaying. Kenny’s sax is the call for kids worldwide to wrap up playtime and head home. Inspired by kicking it with Cuban legend Chucho Valdés – real smooth vibes.

Read also: Jazz Trumpeter and Vocalist Bria Skonberg: The Groovy Canadian Jazz Maestro

Then there’s “Hargrove,” a dynamic piece tipping the hat to trumpeter Roy Hargrove. A mix of hard-bop, R&B, and a sprinkle of late-night hip-hop. Giving props to Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” and Hargrove’s vibe – pure brilliance.

And don’t snooze on “When the Days Were Different,” a warm track with those churchy feels. Kenny spills, “It’s all about hitting rewind to the church days, thinking about good times with fam and friends.”

Youtube video by NPR Music 

Drum Beats, Percussion, and More

the career of jazz musician, Kenny nods to drum legends on “For Art’s Sake.” Bold rhythms mixing jazz with Nigerian Afrobeat. Stuttering rhythms and fiery polyrhythms – drum magic happening.

Drums and percussion take the front seat on “What Was That?” and “Soldiers of the Fields/Soldats des Champs.” Classic Kenny, navigating wild polyrhythms and throwing a salute to jazz warriors.

Title Track Drama

Now, the drama unfolds on the title track. Kenny starts slow on the keys; then it’s a heart-pounding journey with vocal shouts and Yoruba lyrics, paying homage to Orunmila, the god of wisdom. Kenny’s saying it’s all about remembering the spirit of his ancestors.

The album wraps up just like it kicks off with “It’s Time to Come Home,” but this time Kenny’s sax takes the lead in a rhythmic chat with the percussion crew – no vocals needed.

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