Mel Lewis and the Jazz Orchestra – Dolphin Dance featuring Kenny Garrett and John Mosca. Band includes Joe Lovano, Jim McNeely, Gary Smulyan and Tom Harrell.
Kenny Garrett was born in Detroit, Michigan, on October 9, 1960;] he is a 1978 graduate of Mackenzie High School. His father was a carpenter who played tenor saxophone as a hobby. Garrett’s own career as a saxophonist took off when he joined the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1978, then led by Duke’s son, Mercer Ellington. A few years later he performed in the Mel Lewis Orchestra, playing the music of Thad Jones, and also the Dannie Richmond Quartet, focusing on Charles Mingus’s music.
In 1984, he recorded his first album as a bandleader, Introducing Kenny Garrett, on the CrissCross label. He then recorded two albums with Atlantic Records: Prisoner of Love and African Exchange Student. Since 1990 the majority of Garrett albums are co-produced by pianist/composer Donald Brown. Garrett signed to the Warner Bros. Records label, and beginning with Black Hope, in 1992, he has continued to record with them. Among his recordings on Warner Bros. are Pursuance: The Music of John Coltrane, recorded in 1996, and Songbook, his first album made up entirely of his own compositions, recorded in 1997 and nominated for a Grammy Award. During his career, Garrett has performed and recorded with many jazz greats such as Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Joe Henderson, Brad Mehldau, Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, McCoy Tyner, Pharoah Sanders, Brian Blade, Marcus Miller, Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, Herbie Hancock, Bobby Hutcherson, Ron Carter, Elvin Jones, and Mulgrew Miller. Garrett’s music sometimes exhibits Asian influences, an aspect which is especially prevalent in his 2006 Grammy-nominated recording, Beyond the Wall.
Garrett is best known in many circles for the five years he spent playing with Miles Davis during Davis’s electric period, and has stated that he has become accustomed to this association: