A Jazz Festival Moment: Kenny Garrett

Kenny GarrettIn a Portland Jazz Festival conversation this morning, host Devin Philips asked his fellow saxophonist Kenny Garrett to watch a video of himself and comment on it. The performance was 16 years ago at the Montreux, Switzerland, festival. Pianist Kenny Kirkland, bassist Nat Reeves and drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts were the rhythm section. Garrett and the audience of festival-goers and Portland State University music students watched as he played several dozen choruses of John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps.” Phillips led into the screening by telling Garrett that after he saw the video the first time, “I wanted to crush my horn.”

When his 1997 self had faded to black, Garrett turned back to the packed hall and said, I think I’d better practice more. I was trying to rise above myself. Hopefully, I’ll get there.”

His 2013 quartet will play tonight in a PDX concert that has been sold out for days.

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  1. says

    Thanks for posting this Doug. A superb and inspired rendition of Giant Steps. I was especially pleased to see it because I’m collecting everything I can find on audio or video of pianist Kenny Kirkland. The more I find, the more impressed I am with his brilliant playing in every situation. Unfortunately because of his early demise we will never know how great he could have become. Garrett was no slouch then either, that’s some of his best playing I’ve ever heard..

  2. Jeffrey Dostal says

    Thanks for the video, Doug. Garrett was an artist to watch then, and I’m not quite sure whether he fulfilled what he promised all those years ago. Working in Switzerland at the moment, I’m not able to attend the gig, but I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to report about it.