It makes sense that Sanders appeared on Garrett's two previous discs, 2006's Beyond the Wall and 2008's Sketches of MD, and toured with Garrett. The two saxophonists already share a fondness for splintered multiphonics, lyrical wailing and knotty improvisation drawn from sing-songy melodies. But in "Welcome Earth Song," Garrett incorporates some of Sanders' compositional touches, as well, notably the sweeping Afrocentric vocal choruses, entrancing modal grooves and propulsive percussion.
Garrett, of course, isn't the first to draw upon Sanders classics such as "The Creator Has a Master Plan" and "Thembi." What propels "Welcome Earth Song" above the heap of derivative clones is the vivacity of the ensemble's playing ? particularly Benito Gonzalez's gospel-inflected piano solo ? and the driving polyrhythms, concocted by drummer Ronald Bruner and percussionist Rudy Bird. When Garrett's rapt solo takes hold, "Welcome Earth Song" evokes more than just a Sanders standard; it also conjures the best of a regular soul-stirring church service, as reinvigorating as it is reliable.
Song: "Welcome Earth Song"
Artist: Kenny Garrett
CD: Seeds From the Underground