Posted March 4, 2022

Kenny Garrett, a Grammy award-winning musician, performs at Temple

Bringing the North Philadelphia community together for a free live concert at the Temple Performing Arts Center on Feb. 12, Kenny Garrett performed from his latest album, Sounds From The Ancestors. The concert also featured performances from the Temple Jazz Faculty Sextet and current students from the Boyer College of Music and Dance.

Image of Kenny Garrett’s band performing at the Temple Performing Arts Center.
Photography By: 
Lester Hinton
Kenny Garrett, a saxophonist and Grammy award-winning artist, performed with his band at the Temple Performing Arts Center on Feb. 12.

Early this month, WRTI and Temple University presented a free live jazz concert at the Temple Performing Arts Center headlined by Kenny Garrett, a Grammy award-winning saxophonist, who performed songs from his latest album, Sounds From The Ancestors

The concert opened with the Temple Jazz Faculty Sextet, made up of faculty members from the Boyer College of Music and Dance: Terell L. Stafford, Bruce Barth, Mike Boone, Justin Faulkner, Dick Oatts and Tim Warfield Jr. 

Stafford is the director of jazz studies at Boyer and a trumpet player, who started playing at the age of 13. He was impressed with the exuberant energy and excitement that Garrett and his band brought to the event. 

“I have been a huge fan of Kenny Garrett from the very beginning. When we arrived for a soundcheck, the energy was just incredible. Everybody was so excited,” said Stafford. “I’m still buzzing from it.”

Nearly 800 people attended the event which brought the North Philadelphia community together for an evening at Temple. 

Vice President for Public Affairs Val Harrison said the concert served as an extraordinary opportunity to bring students, faculty, staff and North Philadelphia residents together to celebrate music. 

“Temple remains committed to bringing the best of African American culture to the Philadelphia community,” said Harrison. “Many people from neighboring communities walked to the concert, so it was a tremendous display of community building and the possibilities that shared experiences can foster.”

She added that the event was free in an effort to create a space where the larger Philadelphia community feels welcomed at Temple. 

Grammy award-winning artist Kenny Garrett emerged on the national scene in 1978. He has collaborated with Miles Davis, Art Blakey, The Jazz Messengers, Donald Byrd, Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw and the Duke Ellington Orchestra. (Photo by Les Hinton)

Margaret O’Dwyer, a Philadelphia resident in attendance at the concert, said she was happy to see Temple provide a free event for the community.

“I loved to see the Temple faculty performing and all the Temple students who were out showing their support and being able to hear such a world-class musician,” said O’Dwyer. “Having the event open to the community so that the community can take part in it was beautiful all around.”

“I'm glad Temple is reaching out to the community and I hope to see Temple doing more in the local schools and in the neighborhoods, especially with their music,” she added. 

Leo Gadson, a longtime Philadelphia resident who provides leadership to the Producers Guild of America, an organization that produces community jazz performances, said he really loved the concert. 

“Kenny Garrett was excellent and he did not disappoint me or all my friends who were with me. When he got on the piano he was phenomenal.” said Gadson. “I had no idea he played the piano, too.”

“Both bands were great, it was like the passing of the torch age-wise,” added Gadson. “Music is healing, it has a universal place for all people and the concert brought us together as a whole.” 

Graduate students Dylan Band, BYR ’20, John Meko, BYR ’20, and Max Cudworth also performed alongside Garrett on a song to close the concert.  

Band, a saxophonist, said he looked up to Garrett as a musician and enjoyed performing for the community. 

“It was amazing. Kenny Garrett is one of my heroes musically and saxophone-wise, so to perform with him and see him live was unbelievable,” said Band. “He sounded at the top of his game. You feed off the energy that the band was giving.” 

This event was made possible by Boyer College of Music and Dance, Temple University’s Office of Community Affairs, and WRTI.