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Carlos Garnett

Carlos Garnett

Tenor saxophonist Carlos Garnett’s jazz life has played out like that John Garfield boxer flick. You know: kid with skills swings his way from town to city (Panama-Brooklyn), spars with Freddie Hubbard, becomes a contender (via Mingus), nails 1st-round KO with Miles, five successive solo title defense wins (Muse, ’74-’80), gets big money-stoopid(Denroy Morgan’s smash hit “I’ll Do Anything for You”), hits gutter, limps back home, returns triumphant in last reel (Under Nubian Skies; High- Note), roll credits.

In reality, Garnett’s struggle for artistic/creative validity was not movie-neat. “I was here since ’62 playin’ and gettin’ some experience,” says Garnett. “It took a long time; even though a lot of people had thought that I could, I did not go to Manhattan and play at all-I was playing all around Brooklyn and Queens [laughs]! The main thing that occurred for me was when I went out with Freddie Hubbard in 1968. After that my confidence rose and I knew that I was capable of playing with the giants.” This is the spiritual key to Garnett’s longevity.

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