OK. Fooled me. Who'd have thunk it? An all-ages full-house (from my unofficial estimate), at the conclusion of last night's Jazz Festival opener, jumping up and down. Pogo dancing. Bouncing their bonces. Hand-clapping. Hand-jiving. Pushing voices raw, bellowing in sing-along fashion an insidiously catchy Calypso-esque melody. All merrily exorted on by no other than the cerebral young master saxophonist and composer, Kenny Garrett. Say wot?!? "Are you happy people?" he asked with a toothy grin. "Make some noise." The crowd roars. Garrett beams. "Halifax, you are the most!" Cheerleader. Showman. Funster. Never crossed my mind Garrett would be all of these when I plunked myself down in the Festival Tent to experience offerings from a stunningly gifted instrumentalist whose music I knew of that "chronicles a journey of personal gravitas toward some form of spiritual awakening". Heck, his main man influence was John Coltrane; himself a devotee to searches for divine emanations or the transcendent. Surprise! Oh sure throughout the almost 2 1/2 hour, non-stop performance, there were echoing of Coltrane in his Love Supreme mode. During a stand-out duet - Garrett on sporano sax, his killer keyboardist, Johnny Mercier (a monster on a Hammond B3) on piano, Garrett outpoured in a continous melodic stream, hymn-like motifs, weaving into the lines, Oriental-tinted tunes: a marked contrast to his other compositions. Namely punching-holes-in-the-sky jazz funk grooves that underpinned Garrett's brilliance on saxes and keyboards. Rousing. Energetic. Intense. Crowd pleasing. What a terrific scorching beginning to what looks to be a fabulous festival.