Kenny Barron

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Kenny Barron in Oslo 2018
Picture: Tore Sætre

Kenny Barron (born June 9, 1943 in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania ) is an American jazz pianist and composer .


His professional career began in 1957 in Mel Melvin's band , in which his brother Bill also played. After moving to New York in 1959, he first played with Philly Joe Jones , then with Yusef Lateef , James Moody and Lee Morgan . As Barron himself says, Lateef had a great influence on the way he improvised. In 1961 he was hired by Lou Donaldson and two years later he switched to Dizzy Gillespie's quintet, where he succeeded Lalo Schifrin . After a European tour he switched to Freddie Hubbard and then played with Jimmy Owens , Joe Henderson , Esther Marrow , Milt Jackson , Stanley Turrentine and Stan Getz, among others . After that, Barron returned to Yusef Lateef in 1970. In 1973 the album Sunset to Dawn was created for Muse Records ; In 1981 he formed the group Sphere with Charlie Rouse (later replaced by Gary Bartz ).

Barron has received several Grammy nominations, including People Time (with Stan Getz), Sambao , Night and the City (with Charlie Haden ), Wanton Spirit (with Charlie Haden and Roy Haynes ) and Spirit Song . He has received the Best Pianist award from the Jazz Journalists Association four times in a row .

From 1973 to 2000 Kenny Barron taught at Rutgers University . His brother was the tenor saxophonist Bill Barron (1927-1989).

His compositions have been interpreted by many musicians; saxophonist Harvey Wainapel recorded an entire album of Barron tracks ("Ambrosia").

The swinging all-round pianist, equally versed in percussive and tied phrasing, is valued by many soloists, especially singers, as the ideal accompanist. He is the decisive driving force on many recordings as a sideman . He improvises in a varied and imaginative way.

In 2009 Barron was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences . In 2010 he received the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship .

In the interview he says that with increasing age he becomes more willing to experiment, musically more daring and ventures out of his usual musical security.

Discographic notes

Individual evidence

  1. Kunzler Jazz Lexicon

Web links