In 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.