More than any other artist in traditional jazz today, saxophonist/composer/arrangerKenny Garrett and his band are known to entice audiences to want to get up and groove. Be it in Spain where a man from Cameroon leaped up and broke out some African moves then was joined by a young break-dancer, or in Germany where a clearly classically trained ballet dancer was brought to his feet; in Poland where a fan literally jumped from the balcony onto the stage to dance, or at a festival in Barbados where music lovers got on up and grooved in the rain to “Happy People,” the spectacle is always the same: the spirit takes over and the movements come naturally. It is this spirit that Garrett has instigated and witnessed from stages around the world that fills Do Your Dance!—the saxophonist’s fourth for Mack Avenue Records.
“I look out and see people waiting for the songs that they can party to and express themselves,” confirms Garrett, the nine-time winner of DownBeat’s Reader’s Poll for Alto Saxophonist of the Year. “Do Your Dance! was inspired by audiences moved to rise from their seats and ‘lift a foot!’ Some are reluctant to participate because they think that others are better than they are. I tell them, ‘Do your dance.’ That means even if you have to ‘stay pocket,’ do the Funky Four Corners or the Nae-Nae, don’t worry about what the other person is doing. Let it all hang out and ‘do your dance!’ On the title track we combine the spirit of a `70s-style beach get down with just a touch of hip-hop—ever in search of the link between the two. I had it playing while I was talking to my daughter on Facetime. When it got to the end with that new vibe, she smiled and I thought, ‘Uh huh—gotcha!’”
Do Your Dance! is a travelogue of rhythm from the melodic lilt of “Calypso Chant” and the soothing, Brazil- inspired “Bossa” to the summer barbecue spirit of “Backyard Groove” and “Philly.” Kenny elaborates, “‘Philly’ was inspired by people at an outdoor festival we played down the street from Temple University. That older generation was going in—dancing to hard bop, funkafied fire and calypso...anything we threw at them! That’s how people used to dance to jazz.”