Kenny Garrett, the 49-year-old Detroit-native, Miles Davis alum and alto sax legend, blew the roof off the tent during the festival’s opening night. His quartet, made up of electric bass, drums, keyboards (Hammond B3 + synths) and alto sax, rocked the house with a whole night of simple, solid, bluesy tunes. The rhythm section was unbelievably tight, his own playing was biting, hard, and swinging, and each musician laid down incredibly solid grooves all night.
His closing number featured a vamp which he continued for more than 45 minutes; according to the bassist whom I interviewed after the show, Kenny just kept bringing back the vamp until the crowd at the front of the stage finally stopped dancing and cheering. Kenny was delighted with the audience’s dedication and participation in his music that night, and he didn’t stop playing until the crowd had been completely exhausted. A tremendous opening night for the festival.
(Back to 2009 Atlantic Jazz Festival Synopsis)