Thursday, July 31, 2008

Kenny Garrett 7/26/08 At Dazzle

First of all let me say I'm a long time Kenny Garrett fan so I was excited for this show. I tend to prefer his more acoustic groups but any time you have the chance to see someone of his talent in a club the size of Dazzle the energy is bound to be exciting. The group consisted of Corey Henry on the organ, Lenny Stallworth on the electric bass, and Justin Brown on the drums. Kenny Garrett also doubled on the Fender Rhodes and keyboard at times, along with effects on the sax.

I went to the first set on Saturday hoping any sound issues from Friday would be resolved. The sound was clear and everything was distinct which is not always the case with a sax using effects. The house was packed, and the energy was good. The group started out with a vamping number that let Mr. Garrett stretch out and really run his bag of tricks, starting with long processed tones and moving to faster flurries. The bass and drums worked a two note motive/backbeat into the ground until given a signal by Garrett they ran a ending cycle to escalate tension and give more variety to Garrett's harmonic movement.

This band was more of a pocket band than a "jazz" band. Even though they reworked several of Garrett's older tunes Henry had limited solo space, Stallworth had one bass solo, and Brown also soloed in a limited capacity. The emphasis was on groove, audience participation, and Garrett's chops. Some other highlights were "Charlie Brown Goes To South Africa," and "Wayne's Thang." Even though these tunes spring from a different group concept, they transfered great to this group. If your favorite records by Garrett are Triology or Pursuance then this might not have been the concert for you, but it's hard not to respect Garrett's musicianship and also his desire to have a good time with the crowd. Garrett seems unafraid to follow his muse, he has made a great variety of records and always seems eager to tread new ground. Even though he plays amazing straight ahead, and great inside funk, his next record is supposed to with Pharoah Sanders. Anybody up for a Denver Kenny Garrett/Pharoah Sanders show?

Here is where you must give it up to Dazzle for bringing out Kenny Garrett, for a reasonable price, providing good sound, and a good three night stretch. Hopefully this leads to other artists of Garrett's caliber coming out and providing more good music.

-Doug Anderson

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