Review: Standard of Language from Kenny Garrett

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cover to Standard of Language from jazz saxophonist Kenny GarrettMan, Kenny Garrett really smokes on that alto sax. He can burn like few other saxophonists. If that wasn’t known before, you’ll know it after hearing his latest release, Standard of Language.

Standard of Language picks up right where his previous release, the excellent Happy People, left off. In fact, five of CD’s nine tracks were recorded during the Happy People session. The other four were recorded with the same band three months later. This tight band is Vernell Brown on piano, Charnett Moffett on bass, and Chris Dave on drums and they effortlessly keep the blazing tempo going.

Aside from being able to blow, Garrett has a fantastic sense of melody. Especially sweet is the uplifting “Native Tongue”. Though it wasn’t recorded on the Happy People sessions, this certainly would have fit with that title of that release. The song gives you a feeling of joy. You’ll remember each of the compositions on Standard of Language, which are all originals by Garrett except for a cover of “What Is This Thing Called Love?”. Tracks like “Native Tongue,” “Doc Tone’s Short Speech” (dedicated to the late Kenny Kirkland), and “Gendai” (a Japanese term meaning present tense) cement Garrett as one of the best melodic composers in modern jazz today.

Make no mistake: Standard of Language is a fiery and exciting CD demonstrating excellent compositions and playing. It’s a hard-hitting piece of work that will find favor with anyone who appreciates kick-ass jazz.

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