Seeds from the Underground
Saxophonist Kenny Garrett has played with Miles Davis, Art Blakey, and Freddie Hubbard, and he’s recorded numerous albums as a leader. On Seeds from the Underground, which features all original compositions, Garrett pays tribute to several of his influences. His band (pianist Benito Gonzalez, bassist Nat Reeves, drummer Ronald Bruner, and percussionist Rudy Bird) is a tight, polished unit. The Latin-tinged “Wiggins” nods to Garrett’s high school band leader, Bill Wiggins. (One of Garrett’s first gigs after playing with his high school band was with Duke Ellington’s orchestra, led by Mercer Ellington at the time.) “Haynes Here” (with wordless vocals by Nedelka Prescod and Gonzalez’s McCoy Tyner–flavored piano) pays homage to drummer Roy Haynes. On “Detroit,” a tribute to Garrett’s hometown and trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, alto sax and vocals float over the crackly sound of a needle on vinyl. The hard-swinging “Du-Wo-Mo” tips the hat to three jazzmen: Ellington, Woody Shaw, and Thelonious Monk. The album wraps up with a melodic standout, “Laviso, I Bon?,” a piece inspired by a Guadeloupian musician.