Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Kenny Garrett - African Exchange Student

Kenny Garrett's only problem is that you find his albums next to Kenny G's (sorry to mention his name in the same sentence w/Garrett, but it needed to be said). I saw Kenny in Miles' band a while back, but I didn't know who he was. I got turned on to "African Exchange Student" about 5 or 6 years ago. My only problem w/the title track was that it ended. It's almost hypnotic. Even though Kenny's an alto player, I find his music and this band to be a spiritual continuum of John Coltrane's great 60's quartet. It has that "certain something" that I'm continully searching for in the music I purchase, but rarely find. This album is up there with "A Love Supreme", Hendrix's "Electric Ladyland", the Allman Brothers "Live at the Fillmore East", Miles' "Kind of Blue", and Col. Bruce Hampton and Aquarium Rescue Unit's live debut album as being among my absolute all-time favorites. Even track 4, the "smooth"one is a great tune. This is a gem of a recording. - by Paul A. Kelly, Amazon.com

Altoist Kenny Garrett, who was then a key member of Miles Davis' group, had one of his strongest early sets as a leader on this Atlantic disc. "Ja-Hed" features his post-bop improvising over the chord changes of "Impressions," the is both lighthearted and adventurous on "Mack the Knife" and the title cut has Garrett expertly building up an emotional solo from intense long tones to sound explorations and late period 'Trane screams. Throughout the CD, Kenny Garrett's alto is the main attraction but the strong rhythm section (comprised of pianist Mulgrew Miller, either Charnett Moffett or Ron Carter on bass, Tony Reedus or Elvin Jones on drums and occasional percussionists) should not be overlooked. Whether it be the modal tribute piece "Shaw," the rarely played Coltrane song "Straight Street" or the minor blues "Nostradamus," Kenny Garrett justifies the praise that he received from Miles Davis. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Kenny Garrett
Album: African Exchange Student
Year: 1990
Label: Atlantic
Runtime: 66:47

1.  Ja - Hed (Kenny Garrett) 5:57
2.  Mack The Knife (Kurt Weill/Berthold Brecht) 8:40
3.  African Exchange Student (Kenny Garrett) 9:18
4.  Someday We'll All Be Free (Donny Hathaway/Edward Howard) 5:43
5.  One World Through (Kenny Garrett) 1:37
6.  Straight Street (John Coltrane) 4:57
7.  Shaw (Kenny Garrett) 6:40
8.  Lullaby Of Isfahan (Kenny Garrett) 6:10
9.  One Finger Snap (Herbie Hancock) 6:15
10.  Your Country-Ness (Kenny Garrett) 5:27
11.  Nostradamus (Kenny Garrett) 6:00

Kenny Garrett (Alto Saxophone, Flute, Vocals)
Mulgrew Miller (Piano) - 1-4,6-11
Charnett Moffett (Bass) - 1-4,6,8,9
Tony Reedus (Drums) - 1-4,6,9
Elvin Jones (Drums) - 5,7-9,11
Ron Carter (Double Bass) - 5,7,8,11
Rudy Bird (Percussion) - 3,4,8
Tito Ocasio (Percussion) - 3,4
Steve Thompson (Percussion) - 3,4


  1. High praise from Mr. Kelley, although I dispute his inclusion of Col. Bruce Hampton. Ranking a recording on par with 'Kind of Blue' and 'A Love Supreme' is risky business. Those classics are among the Himalayas of modern jazz -- and it's a slippery slope. Nevertheless his enthusiasm has piqued my curiosity. Thanks for the opportunity to judge for myself.



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