The billing at Ronnie Scott`s did say that there ought to be a `storm warning` for the Kenny Garrett Quintet. All I can say is wow, wow ,wow!
Although we have seen quite a lot of jazz over the last ten years, the last time that I went to a `proper` jazz club was in New York ,when I was fortunate to see the late great American jazz singer and pianist Shirley Horn at the Blue Note.
I hadn`t been to Ronnie Scott`s before and I loved it. We had a good supper of smoked salmon and steak frites with béarnaise sauce and settled down to the jazz with glass of wine in hand. The place has a great atmosphere, cosy and smart, and the show was a sell-out. The house band; The James Pearson Trio were excellent, and I could have listened to them all night , but when Kenney Garrett walked onto the stage, the room went quiet.
Kenny Garrett (born October 9, 1960) is a Grammy Award-winning American post bop jazz saxophonist and flautist who gained fame in his youth as a member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra and of Miles Davis‘s band. He has since pursued a successful solo career and has been described as “…The most important alto saxophonist of his generation” by Washington City Paper and “…One of the most admired alto saxophonists in jazz after Charlie Parker“ by The New York Times.
He is a stirring alto and soprano saxophonist with a hard-biting sound and compelling, passionate stage presence.( He also had beautiful hands, and we were sitting right at the front by the stage so I could have reached out and touched them. I didn’t though so don`t worry!) But he is one cool guy in his dark suit and embroidered skull cap, his saxophone is amazing too; studded with rhinestones…
His playing was mind blowing, supported by Vernell Brown on piano, Corcoran Holt on bass , McClenty Hunter on drums and Rudy Bird on percussion ( a long way from my son playing the triangle at prep-school ha ha).
The music very much in the post-Coltrane vein , with Asian and African influences, twists and turns-a stirring muscular alto. I was very aware that I was in the presence of one of the greats. When he started playing it was mesmerising and truly fabulous. I have several of his albums but hearing him live was just amazing.