Kenny Garrett – Sounds from the Ancestors (2021) [FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Kenny Garrett – Sounds from the Ancestors (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/96kHz | Time – 01:07:37 minutes | 1,35 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Mack Avenue Records

Since launching his solo career in the mid-’80s, Detroit saxophonist Kenny Garrett has been one of mainstream jazz’s brightest lights. With a discography that both richly honors notions of traditional jazz while pushing it to incorporate a wide range of disparate, global influences, Garrett’s approach has long been that of a man who knows the rulebook inside and out and is more than willing to discard it. That has led to a number of exciting and invigorating albums that push at the edges of the genre’s possibilities while resolutely staying firmly within the tradition. At least until recently. With a few of the cuts on his last studio album, 2016’s Do Your Dance!, Garrett began incorporating a sonic palette more often associated with smooth jazz: funk, Latin, and hip-hop beats undergirding melody-forward compositions that, while certainly pleasant, were perhaps not as challenging as some of the rest of his material. It certainly fit the theme of the album, and, for a player as diverse in his influences as Garrett, it wasn’t even all that surprising. The smoothness continues a few years later on Sounds from the Ancestors, but instead of a more holistically fused approach, Garrett seems to be compartmentalizing tracks as “funky ones” and “jazzy ones” and the results are a little jarring and occasionally disappointing. Putatively constructed to honor the musical legacy of his hometown of Detroit, it’s easy to see why Garrett wanted a more soulful, funky approach to be used on some of these tracks, and in at least one instance -the opening cut “It’s Time To Come Home” blends Coltrane-esque spirituality with Afro-Cuban grooves-he’s able to combine his phenomenal sax prowess with an undeniably propulsive (and seductively danceable) rhythm. Even on several of the album’s more R&B-forward numbers like “When the Days Were Different,” Garrett will throw in quotes from jazz standards here and there. However, for the most part, Ancestors snaps the listener’s neck between glassy, turgid fuzak (“Hargrove” in particular) and fiery, riveting post-bop (“Soldiers of the Fields / Soldats des Champs” is a wildly successful exploratory jam, full of energy, adventure, and improvisation). By the time the album closes with the original (and far more sprawling) run through “It’s Time To Come Home,” one wishes Garrett would have made this a double-disc set with the atmospheres more clearly defined, since, as it is, Ancestors is-despite the high quality of the musicianship and compositions here-a bit too diverse to yield a consistently rewarding listening experience. – Jason Ferguson

1. Kenny Garrett – It’s Time to Come Home
2. Kenny Garrett – Hargrove
3. Kenny Garrett – When the Days Were Different
4. Kenny Garrett – For Art’s Sake
5. Kenny Garrett – What Was That?
6. Kenny Garrett – Soldiers of the Fields / Soldats des Champs
7. Kenny Garrett – Sounds from the Ancestors
8. Kenny Garrett – It’s Time to Come Home (Original)