Kenny Garrett in India!

Gurgaon, India

#1 Jan 29, 2006
Jazz could either be intense and intelectual or it could be fun and entertaining. Kenny Garrett chose the latter in his jazz masters concert at the gateway of India, Mumbai on the 25th of January 2006. The concert kicked off exactly one hour behind schedule with an anouncement that one member, trumpet player Nicholas Payton, was unable to make it due to some injury. It's a good thing two members were'nt injured or else the concert would have started two hours late according to local event management logistics.
Anyway Kenny and his brilliant young rhythm section made up of Carlos McKinney - Piano, Kristopher Funn - Bass and Ronald Brunner - Drums fired on all four cylinders from the word go, displaying sheer virtuosity in one magical burst of uptempo swing. Having made their statement to the purists in the audience the band procceded on to partytime with one chord hip-hop grooves, funky synthesisers and every jazz purist's blasphemic nightmare... electronically processed saxophone! Kenny seemed to be having fun onstage with his new electronic toy, producing sometimes sensational other times eerie sounds out of his horn that at times, sounded like the old gateway creaking open wearily to welcome American jazz into India-the home of improvising maestros (Indian classical musicians).
Three tracks down it was time for a 40 minute break! Ms. compere comes up again and anounces a break for all those in the audience who would like to answer natures call if you please, or maybe for all those purists in the audience who were just too pissed off with Kenny's funkified saxophone. Anyways the band's back after the early break and once again one chord hip-hop rules. So much for all the years spent studying the subtle intricasies of jazz harmony. As long as the boys on stage were having fun so were we. Lisa Henry joined the party with a couple of scat heads that could have been composed on the way from her hotel to the sound check earlier in the afternoon. She made an immediate impression on the Indian audience with some scorching scat passages that some of our Indian classical one chord vocal improvisation maestros would call a lesson out of year one in a ten year guru-shiksha parampara.
Just as it is the case in almost every other sphere, India is shining and it won't be long before Indian jazz masters (specially the ones with an Indian classical foundation) rule planet jazz!

Colin D'Cruz

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