Friday, March 23, 2007

African Exchange Student

This morning I set my mp3 player to play "random roulette." It decided to play "African Exchange Student" by Kenny Garrett. I couldn't help but have flashbacks to college when that recording came out and what a profound effect it had on me as a sax player. You see, up until that point, I had thought that David Sanborn's sound was the only sound to strive for on alto sax. His sound was the definition of contemporary jazz. Then, I heard Miles Davis' "Amandla" and it featured a player that I had never heard of. Of course, that was Kenny Garrett. When I had a chance in 1990 to go to the Tampa Bay Performing Arts center to see and hear Miles and that band, it was something of a revelation. I had never seen such an incredible group of musicians playing an incredible range of dynamics, melody, and just plain funkiness. Well, that's when I started to understand what was going on in the music. Shortly thereafter, "African Exchange Student" was released, and really got me interested in playing more "outside" the chord structure, and even led me to listening to Ornette Coleman and others. If you've never heard Kenny Garrett before, give him a shot.

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