Jazz n' Blues Reviews
Standard Of Language (Warner Bros. 48404; March 7, 2003)
by Kenny Garrett
Reviewed by Don Brown Sr.
The Jazz Internet
Las Vegas Jazz n' Blues
Caught Live Too!
Las Vegas Blues
Kenny Garrett is one of those artists whose pedigree cannot be questioned. Since his work with the legendary Miles Davis, Garrett has been a performer to keep your eye on. Besides Davis, he's played with Art Blakley, Chick Corea, Robben Ford, Peter Gabriel, Quincy Jones and Sting to name a few. He's also connected to the NBA by his work on ex-hoopster Wayman Tisdale's Power Forward CD. Now Kenny has come full circle on his new CD, Standard Of Language.
From the opening saxophone riff of Cole Porter's "What Is This Thing Called Love", you know that you are in for a wild ride. With Garrett's sax and Charrett Moffett's throbbing bass lines, this CD has a great live feel to it. "Kurita Sensei" slows the pace down to a rhythmic heartbeat.
"XYZ" is a full throttle workout that features some crisp drumming by Chris Dave and hot piano runs by Vernell Brown. The lush melody of "Native Tongue" has a very moving vibe going on. Garrett lays down some heavy sax on "Chief Blackwater" as his band sets a frantic pace. "Doc Tone's Short Speech" is named after the late Kenny Kirkland, whose nickname was Doc Tone. Garrett's friend never got to hear this song, but you shouldn't miss it.
"Just A Second To Catch My Breath" is just that, time to catch your breath from the band's lightning fast music that you've just heard. "Gendai" again picks up the pace before the title song "Standard Of Language" drives the CD home. "Language" is Kenny's first suite, and how sweet it is. The Quartet just tears this song up, from the tempo changes to his wailing sax. This may be Kenny's defining moment as a songwriter. This may also be Garrett's best CD to date.