Wynton Kelly

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wynton Kelly (born December 2, 1931 in Jamaica , † April 12, 1971 Toronto , Canada ) was an American jazz pianist .


Kelly grew up in Brooklyn, New York after his parents moved from Jamaica when he was four and began his professional career as a teenager in rhythm and blues groups. After touring the Caribbean with Ray Abrams, he worked with Cecil Payne , Dinah Washington and Dizzy Gillespie .

From 1959 to 1963 he was a member of the Miles Davis Quintet. He played on Miles Davis' momentous 1959 album Kind Of Blue , where he replaced Bill Evans on Freddie Freeloader (Davis asked Kelly to sound more like Ahmad Jamal ). He also plays on a single track from John Coltrane's Giant Steps , replacing Tommy Flanagan on Naima .

Miles Davis, his former band leader, said in his autobiography: “I liked the way he played because he was a cross between Red Garland and Bill Evans; he could do almost anything. But the greatest thing was how he played behind a soloist. Cannonball and Trane liked him as much as I did. "

Kelly was a fine companion and a distinct solo player. He recorded 14 tracks in trio for Blue Note Records , worked with Dinah Washington, Dizzy Gillespie, and from 1951 to 1952 with Lester Young . After military service he worked with Dinah Washington from 1955 to 1957 , Charles Mingus from 1956 to 1957 and the Dizzy Gillespie Bigband in 1957. He was best known for his work with Miles Davis from 1959 to 1963, which resulted in albums such as Kind Of Blue , Blackhawk and Someday My Prince Will Come . When he left Davis, he took the rhythm section, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Jimmy Cobb , for his own trio. The group sounded best when they supported Wes Montgomery (for example at his Half Note concert in 1965), as Kelly describes it.

Kelly suffered from epilepsy and died at the age of 39 from a seizure suffered in a Toronto hotel room where he had traveled to perform with drummer George Reed and singer Herb Marshall . Before his untimely death, Kelly recorded as a leader for Blue Note, Riverside , Vee-Jay , Verve and Milestone . In addition to his eleven albums, he accompanied several musicians on their recordings: Sonny Rollins , John Coltrane , Dexter Gordon , Wayne Shorter , Cannonball and Nat Adderley , Johnny Griffin , Hank Mobley , Jay Jay Johnson and Illinois Jacquet . In the last years of his life, he often appeared in New York clubs with Ray Nance .

Kelly's second cousin, bassist Marcus Miller , also performed with Miles Davis in the 1980s and 1990s.

Music genre

When playing, Kelly has a round, soft tone, a restrained drive and a swing-influenced, idiosyncratic locked-hand game, which is created by striking the left hand chords in a wonderful rhythmic pulsation with the melody instead of carrying them along with the melody. In Freddie Freeloader , for example, he plays sparkling runs, bop-like tone sequences and with a great wealth of ideas over a simple blues scheme. Kelly was especially valued by musicians. Kelly's early game is reminiscent of Horace Silver . He was disciplined in time , which made him a sought-after companion.

Discographic notes

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Wynton Kelly at Concord Music .
  2. Wynton Kelly on Jazzgiants.net .
  3. ^ The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (1995)
  4. a b Down Beat Profile ( Memento from March 3, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  5. a b c d e Martin Kunzler , Jazzlexikon, Rowohlt, ISBN 3-499-16317-9
  6. ^ A b c d Ian Carr , Digby Fairweather , Brian Priestley : Rough Guide Jazz. The ultimate guide to jazz music. 1700 artists and bands from the beginning until today. Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 1999, ISBN 3-476-01584-X .
  7. ^ Miles Davis: The Autobiography, pp. 315-316.