Kenny Garrett: Songbook

Garrett explores ten originals in this album. His alto saxophone sound is intense and passionate and suggests that Sonny Fortune may have been one of his models. But certain tunes and performances have a Coltrane-ish cast, too: “2 Down & 1 Across,” “Wooden Steps” and “Brother Hubbard.” The lyrical “Ms. Baja” and the ballads “She Waits for the New Sun” and “Before It’s Time to Say Goodbye” offer Garrett’s unsentimental romantic side.

His sidemen-pianist Kenny Kirkland, bassist Nat Reeves and drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts-are tough players who create a slashing rhythmic drive. They and Garrett have established themselves as some of the hottest post-Coltrane Quartet jazzmen. Whether the altoist’s tunes enter the everyday jazz repertoire remains to be seen (or heard), but there’s no doubt about the musical success and capability of these players with any material.