I had the pleasure of working with saxophonist Kenny Garrett during the early years of Jazz Online which included interviewing him several times as well as producing two exciting live video sessions with his quartet at Oakland's famed jazz club and Japanese restaurant Yoshi's.
One of my fondest memories of hanging out with Kenny was listening to him talk about his love for Japan and its culture as he ordered his sushi in Japanese. At the time, he was just learning how to speak the language and would practice every chance he got. Below is an archive Q&A conducted with Kenny from that time and also a burnin' video selection taken from one of our shoots at Yoshi's. In honor of Kenny's passion, we'd like to take this opportunity to remember the people of Japan at this difficult time and have provided a link to the American Red Cross for Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami relief. - JV
How or when did you first discover jazz?
From my father, who played tenor saxophone. I used to listen to his albums.
Do you remember the first recording you ever purchased?
It was Marvin Gaye's What's Going On.
Name one of your greatest creative influences and why?
I would say John ColtraneI love his voice, his control, his spirituality and his message.
What made you decide to become a musician?
I think the reason I became a musician is because I found that I could communicate to people what I was feeling and they were able to receive it quickly.
Though there may be many, name one jazz recording that you cannot live without.
John Coltrane's Out of this World.
What is the best thing about playing jazz?
The freedom of creating music on the spot. Also, the opportunity to travel the world and meet people.
What is your favorite escape?
Going to Japan.