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Kenny Garrett Signs with Mack Avenue Records

Saxophonist Kenny Garrett will release his 15th album, Sketches of MD, on Sept. 23, his first on Mack Avenue Records.

For the album, Garrett and his band-pianist Benito Gonzales, bassist Nat Reeves, drummer Jamire Williams and special guest tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders-worked on five compositions inspired by the playing of various sideman from Miles Davis’ array of groups. In the late 1980s, Garrett himself served as one of Davis’ sidemen.

The band decided to forgo taking these songs to the studio; instead, Sketches of MD is a live album, recorded at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City.

“I wanted to document the band I took on the road for [2006’s] Beyond the Wall while we were working with Pharoah and also write some new songs,” Garrett said in a press release. “The idea of doing the Miles-related songs just evolved.”

The compositions captured on the album were “as new to the audience as they were to the band,” creating a unique energy exchange, Garrett.

The Detroit native said he decided to sign to hometown Mack Avenue because of the label’s progressive views.

“I see Mack Avenue as an independent label with big ideas,” Garrett said. “They’re making noise in my hometown, so I wanted to be a part of it. I didn’t want a company that can’t do something because all they know is the normal way. I wanted fresh marketing-something beyond my core.”

Garrett’s career started in 1978 as a member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra. He released his first album as a bandleader, Introducing Kenny Garrett, in 1984. Beyond the Wall, Garrett’s last album, was released in 2006.

Originally Published