The Kennedy Center

Kenny Garrett



Biography

Kenny Garrett (saxophonist), was introduced to the saxophone early by his father, and went on to become one of the most distinctive instrumentalists to emerge from Detroit's flourishing'80s and ‘90s jazz scene. In 1978, Mr. Garrett joined the Duke Ellington Orchestra (under the direction of Mercer Ellington). Three years later, he moved to New York and played with The Mel Lewis Orchestra absorbing the charts of Thad Jones, and WITH the Dannie Richmond Quintet playing the music of Charles Mingus. His first album as a leader, Introducing Kenny Garrett (1984, Criss Cross) appeared while he was also recording with Art Blakey, Donald Byrd, Freddie Hubbard, Wallace Roney, Woody Shaw, Cedar Walton, and others. In 1986 Mr. Garrett joined the Miles Davis Orchestra, and the five-year/four-album association left an indelible imprint on Mr. Garrett's life and career. The albums Amandla (1989) and Dingo (1990), recorded with Davis and his band, brought Mr. Garrett's work to an international audience and two solo albums on Atlantic Records – Prisoner of Love and African Exchange Student – led to his signing to Warner in 1992. Since then Mr. Garrett has recorded several four-star album s, amassed scores of sideman credits, participated in the soundtrack of the modern black film gem, Love Jones , and the unseated the legendary Phil Woods from the top of the alto saxophone category in Down Beat Magazine's Readers' Poll. He has worked and recorded with many major figures, including guitarists Pat Metheny and John Scofield, and pianist Kenny Kirkland. His own groups have often included pianist Mulgrew Miller and bassist Charnett Moffett. His playing can also be heard on recordings by jazz legends Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, Freddie Hubbard, Ornette Coleman, McCoy Tyner, Woody Shaw, rock royalty Sting, Peter Gabriel and Bruce Springsteen, and progressive rap pioneer GURU. Mr. Garrett's recent recordings as a leader include Simply Said (1999), Happy People (2002), and Standard of Love (2003).

April 2004
Kenny Garrett