Elements of the performance style of Kenny Garrett

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)


Music Studio and Jazz

First Committee Member

Whitney F. Sidener - Committee Chair


Kenny Garrett is recognized as one of the leading jazz alto saxophonists of the 1990's. Winner of the alto saxophone category of the Down Beat Readers Poll from 1996--1999, he has performed as a sideman with some of the major artists in the history of jazz. As a leader or a sideman he has performed on over 100 recordings. Other jazz musicians and students have utilized Garrett's compositions as source material.The purpose of this essay is to examine the performance style of Kenny Garrett through transcription and analysis of selected compositions and solos. The analysis, coupled with a personal interview of Garrett, provides a scholarly examination of his performance style. The essay represents the first scholarly examination of Garrett by a member of the academic community. Chapter one introduces the essay and provides justification for the necessity of the document. Chapter one also includes a review of related literature and the investigation and reporting procedures employed throughout the document. Chapter two contains excerpts from a personal interview with Garrett, answering questions about his family and childhood, his early practice routine, the acquisition of his inimitable tone quality, his early experiences as a freelance performer in New York City, and his philosophy of music. Chapters four through thirteen include analyses of selected compositions by Garrett and others and in-depth analyses of Garrett's improvised solos on the compositions. A discography of Garrett's recordings as a leader and the complete solo transcriptions are located in the appendices of the document.



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