Songbook is the first release by alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett to feature his frequent touring quartet -- pianist Kenny Kirkland, drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts and bassist Nat Reeves -- on a program that consists entirely of Garrett's own compositions. Always inventive, curious, daring, and exuberant, Garrett's Songbook proves him worthy of the alto legacy that most people (both fans and musicians) seem to agree he carries, as he demonstrates what sounds like the uncanny ability to play two-faced -- one face looking forward to the freshness of new concepts and creations as yet undiscovered, yet with another face which simultaneously looks back to the fine, fierce alto tradition of Phil Woods and Charlie Parker. The band stretches out luxuriously in the Miles Davis tribute "Before It's Time to Say Goodbye," this first recording of Garrett's perennial in-concert crowd pleaser "Sing a Song of Song," "Ms. Baja" and "Brother Hubbard," and Garrett simply sounds like a true master. Garrett also pays tribute to Woody Shaw with "Wooden Steps."
AllMusic Review by Chris Slawecki