Jazz 2K: CD Picks of the Week

June 7th, 2012, 2:00 pm by Greg

Reviews by J Hunter

Five more discs to check out, but don’t do it for me – do it for the people at your Saturday night deck party who’ll say, “Dude! This music is AMAZING!!”

Kenny Garrett: Seeds from the Underground

“Seeds from the Underground”
(Mack Avenue)
It’s a chicken-or-the-egg thing: Is it Kenny Garrett’s dynamic, diamond-hard post-bop that makes him so sensational, or his ability to consistently break the sound barrier while he does it? We get more of the former than the latter on “Seeds,” the Detroit saxman’s first studio disc in six years, but that’s because Garrett’s focus is delivering some sublime shout-outs to people and places that loom large in his life. Darrell Waltrip may have co-opted the phrase “Boogety Boogety,” but Garrett’s ripping opener is a nod to his own dad using that phrase whenever they watched westerns during Garrett’s youth. We get three celebrations for the price of one with “Do-Wo-Mo” (Duke, Woody and Monk), plus some brilliant portraits inspired by Jackie McLean, Keith Jarrett and Garrett’s mentor Marcus Belgrave. But that’s the professional side of Garrett; on the personal side, he gives a grateful nod to his high-school band director with the Latin cruiser “Wiggins,” while the haunting ballad “Detroit” is on the same level as Stan Getz’ “The Peacocks” when it comes to longing for something that’s gone. Garrett’s band is tight as a drum, even though Nedelka Prescod’s vocals are superfluous at best. Benito Gonzalez’s piano is right on point, particularly during the Coltrane-esque raver “Welcome Earth Song,” and percussionist Rudy Bird teams up with bassist Nat Reeves and drummer Ronald Bruner to give Garrett a great canvas to paint these bright, loving pictures of the people that helped make him what he is today.

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