Kenny Drew Sr.

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Kenneth Sidney Drew , (born August 28, 1928 in New York City , New York, † August 4, 1993 in Copenhagen , Denmark) was an American jazz pianist of mainstream jazz and hard bop .


Drew learned the piano when he was five and was educated at Music and Art High School . He made his first recordings with Howard McGhee in 1949 and then with Coleman Hawkins , Lester Young , Charlie Parker . Between 1952 and 1953 he played in Buddy DeFranco's quartet and in 1954 led a trio in Los Angeles and San Francisco . He accompanied Dinah Washington , was with Art Blakey (1957), appeared on John Coltrane's album Blue Train from 1957 and played with Buddy Rich (1958), Miles Davis and Milt Jackson . In 1960 he recorded the album Undercurrent with Freddie Hubbard , Hank Mobley , Sam Jones and Louis Hayes on Blue Note . Like other American musicians, he was drawn to more liberal Europe in the early 1960s. In 1961 he moved to Paris and settled in Copenhagen in 1964 , where he formed a trio with the Danish bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen , who also regularly accompanied guest musicians as a rhythm group at Club Montmartre (Jazzhouse Montmartre Band), and from where he made guest appearances all over Europe. He released many albums under his own name on Steeplechase and took z. B. with Johnny Griffin , Dexter Gordon ( Tokyo 1975 ), Ben Webster , Chet Baker and Freddie Hubbard. While he was so well known in the European jazz scene, his reputation faded in the States, where he had worked as a sideman with almost all the greats of jazz in the 1950s.

Kenny Drew is buried in Assistens Cemetery in the Nørrebro district of Copenhagen .

Drew was married to the daughter of the Danish band leader Leo Mathisen. His son Kenny Drew junior (1958-2014) was also a jazz and classical pianist.

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