In the early nineties, I had the pleasure to see the talented virtuoso and saxophonist Kenny Garrett perform at a local jazz festival nettled in the mountains of western North Carolina. The noble journeymen Kirkland, Reeves, & Watts performed with him as they also appear on this amazing project titled “Songbook.” Perhaps, much like on “Songbook,” Garrett’s gutty and definitive sound was punctuality numbing as if Coltrane where playing the set. The interplay by his cohorts was simply splendid that evening as their cohesiveness transcended into a transparent state as they enveloped a stage presence that exalted passion and unyielding conviction. In the meantime, this ensemble performance emboss a profound impression of what great jazz is really all about in the heart, mind and spirit of the concert goers that evening. ~ The Urban Flux
Kenny Garrett | Songbook – [ Warner Bros/WEA, 1997]Although I am merely a 19-year-old, I have spent the last 9 years living, learning, and breathing jazz. About a year ago, I had known who Kenny Garrett was but had not heard any of his music. It was at this point that a friend of mine played me “Songbook“. About a week later, I had this album in my possession.
Ever since I have had this album, I have not been able to stop listening to it.
Each track provides a different ambiance, in such away that alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett, along with fellow performers Nat Reeves on bass, Jeff “Tain” Watts on drums, and the late Kenny Kirkland on piano, is trying to tell a story or perhaps bring the listener on a journey.
Every solo taken by both Garrett and Kirkland is captivating, both with Kirkland’s more mainstream, and Garrett’s eastern influences evident at parts.
The tunes on “Songbook“, all of which are Garrett originals, each possess their own unique feel and characteristics, everything from A funk tune, to syncopated swing, to eastern-influence, to a modified blues, to ballads.
This album clearly deserves 5 stars! There are no flaws in any part of the recording; clearly the former Miles Davis saxophone player’s best work!!! —Adam Janjigian, 2002