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South Florida Jazz presents Kenny Garrett

Kenny Garrett

Kenny Garrett

South Florida Jazz presents Kenny Garrett

By Randy Corinthian

     On an evening when most of the northern hemisphere was in a skirmish with Ole’ Man Winter, South Florida was unapologetic for flaunting its’ 70 degree temperature with clear skies. There was also a light breeze in the atmosphere, making for the perfect weather conditions for welcoming Grammy-award winning saxophonist, composer and bandleader, Kenny Garrett.

    As the guests arrived outside the Miniaci Performing Arts Center, on the beautiful cam-pus of Nova Southeastern University, the tone for the evening was already set. An ensemble of student musicians performing a variety of Blues tunes and rhythm changes greeted them. This young group demonstrated the ability to co-herently speak the language of jazz through the exchange of musical thoughts and ideas, which encompassed swing and improvisation.

“The learning curve that exists between the student musicians and many of the professionals isn’t that great”, stated Ron Weber, president and artistic director of South Florida Jazz. It was refreshing to witness the future of jazz music unfolding in real time, right here in South Florida.

Following a brief introduction by Weber, The Kenny Garrett Quintet took their positions on stage. Filled with great enthusiasm and anticipation, the capacity crowd applauded at the very sight of the ensemble’s entrance, and without much pomp and circumstance, the quintet began to play!

One song after another, Garrett proceeded to lead his group through a maze of musical expressions, making pit stops along the way to feature his cast of characters; Vernell Brown on the piano, Corcoran Holt on acoustic bass, McClenty Hunter on the drums, and Rudy Bird on percussion. Collectively, they navigated through Garrett’s most recent release, Pushing The World Away, delivering a closing argument so convincing, that, the debate over his most recent Grammy nomination became an open and shut case. “After attending this concert, I understand the title of his album a lot better”, exclaimed Patrick Ward, a jazz pianist and educator.

Throughout the performance, listeners could hear references to Coltrane and Adderley, and many of the greats, in Garrett’s playing. One such example occurred during his performance of J’ouvert, an original composition that pays ho-mage to Sonny Rollins, and is set to a musical bed reminiscent of Rollins’ St. Thomas.

During Garrett’s solo, he quoted the melody from the very popular tune, and the crowd erupted with great joy and laughter! Garrett stated, “It’s flattering when young musicians say that they’re checking me out, but I make it a point to tell them that jazz started long before me, and that they should go back and dig deeper to check out cats like Ben Webster and Coleman Hawkins to see what they were dealing with. They may catch something that I missed along the way.” Garrett attributes this gap in historical perspective to exposure, or the lack thereof.

As society is continuously overwhelmed with pop culture through radio, television, and social media, it’s not uncommon for young musicians to gravitate towards someone who is perceived as relevant in today’s music scene, while neglecting indepth study of the pioneers of this great American art form called Jazz.

With the continued support of the Broward County Board of Commissioners, the Broward Cultural Council, and the generous donations from jazz lovers worldwide, South Florida Jazz remains committed to high-lighting the very best in jazz for the enjoyment of South Floridians, and jazz lovers all over the world.

For more information on the 2013-14-concert schedule, and details on how you can support South Florida Jazz, please call (954) 462-0222, or visit http://www.southflorida


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