Kenny Drew

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Kenny Drew
Kenny Drew.jpg
Background information
Birth name Kenneth Sidney Drew
Born (1928-08-28)August 28, 1928
New York City, New York, US
Died August 4, 1993(1993-08-04) (aged 64)
Copenhagen, Denmark
Genres Jazz, post-bop, hard bop, mainstream jazz
Instruments Piano
Labels Blue Note
Xanadu
SteepleChase
Riverside
Verve
Soul Note
Storyville
Associated acts Coleman Hawkins

Kenneth Sidney "Kenny" Drew (August 28, 1928 – August 4, 1993) was an American jazz pianist.

Biography[edit]

Drew was born in New York City in 1928 and received piano lessons from the age of five.[1] He attended the High School of Music & Art in Manhattan. Drew's first recording, in 1950, was with Howard McGhee, and over the next two years he worked in bands led by Buddy DeFranco, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, and Charlie Parker, among others.[1] After a brief period with his own trio in California, Drew returned to New York, playing with Dinah Washington, Johnny Griffin, Buddy Rich, and several others over the following few years.[1] He led many recording sessions throughout the '50s, and in 1957 appeared on John Coltrane's album Blue Train.

Drew was one of several American jazz musicians who settled in Europe around this period: he moved to Paris in 1961 and to Copenhagen three years later.[1] While he sacrificed much of the interest of the American jazz audience, he gained a wide following across Europe. Kenny Drew was a well-known figure on the Copenhagen jazz scene, recording many sessions with the Danish bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen. "Living in Copenhagen, and travelling out from there," Drew remarked, "I have probably worked in more different contexts than if I had stayed in New York where I might have got musically locked in with a set-group of musicians. This way, I have been able to keep my musical antennas in shape, while at the same time I have had more time to study and also get deeper into my own endeavors."[2]

Drew and Dexter Gordon appeared on screen in Ole Ege's theatrically released hardcore pornographic film Pornografi – en musical (1971), for which they composed and performed the score.[3]

Drew died in 1993 and was interred in the Assistens Cemetery in Nørrebro, Copenhagen. He has a street named after him in southern Copenhagen, "Kenny Drews Vej" (Eng., Kenny Drew Street).

His son, Kenny Drew Jr., was also a jazz pianist.

Playing style[edit]

His touch was described in The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz as "precise", and his playing as being a combination of bebop-influenced melodic improvisation and block chords, including "refreshingly subtle harmonizations".[1]

Discography[edit]

As leader[edit]

Year recorded Title Label Notes
1953 New Faces, New Sounds Blue Note Trio, with Curly Russell (bass), Art Blakey (drums)
1953–54 Kenny Drew and His Progressive Piano Norgran One track solo piano; some tracks trio with Gene Wright (bass), Lawrence Marable (drums); some tracks trio with Wright (bass), Charles "Specs" Wright (drums); also released as The Modernity of Kenny Drew; contains tracks originally released on The Ideation of Kenny Drew
1955 Talkin' & Walkin' Jazz: West Quartet, with Joe Maini (alto sax, tenor sax), Leroy Vinnegar (bass), Lawrence Marable (drums)
1956 Embers Glow Jazz: West Sextet; some tracks with Joe Maini (alto sax), Ted Efantis (tenor sax), Leroy Vinnegar (bass), Lawrence Marable (drums), Jane Fielding (vocals); some tracks with Paul Chambers (bass) replacing Vinnegar
1956 Kenny Drew Trio Riverside Trio, with Paul Chambers (bass), Philly Joe Jones (drums)
1957 A Harry Warren Showcase Judson Duo, with Wilbur Ware (bass)
1957 A Harold Arlen Showcase Judson Duo, with Wilbur Ware (bass)
1957 I Love Jerome Kern Riverside Duo, with Wilbur Ware (bass)
1957 This Is New Riverside Some tracks quartet, with Donald Byrd (trumpet), Wilbur Ware (bass), G.T. Hogan (drums); most tracks quintet, with Hank Mobley (tenor sax) added
1957 Pal Joey Riverside Trio, with Wilbur Ware (bass), Philly Joe Jones (drums)
1960 Undercurrent Blue Note Quintet, with Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), Hank Mobley (tenor sax), Sam Jones (bass), Louis Hayes (drums)
1973 Duo SteepleChase Duo, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass)
1973 Everything I Love SteepleChase Solo piano
1974 Duo 2 SteepleChase Duo, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass)
1974 Dark Beauty SteepleChase Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Albert Heath (drums)
1974 If You Could See Me Now SteepleChase Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Albert Heath (drums)
1974 Duo Live in Concert SteepleChase Duo, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass); in concert
1975 Morning SteepleChase Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Philip Catherine (guitar)
1977 In Concert SteepleChase Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Philip Catherine (guitar); in concert
1977 Lite Flite SteepleChase Quintet, with Thad Jones (flugelhorn, cornet), Bob Berg (tenor sax), George Mraz (bass), Jimmy Cobb (drums)
1977 Ruby, My Dear SteepleChase Trio, with David Friesen (bass), Clifford Jarvis (drums)
1978 Home Is Where the Soul Is Xanadu Trio, with Leroy Vinnegar (bass guitar), Frank Butler (drums)
1978 For Sure! Xanadu Quintet, with Charles McPherson (alto sax), Sam Noto (trumpet), Leroy Vinnegar (bass), Frank Butler (drums)
1981 It Might as Well Be Spring Soul Note Solo piano
1981 Your Soft Eyes Soul Note Trio, with Mads Vinding (bass), Ed Thigpen (drums)
1982 Playtime: Children's Songs by Kenny Drew and Mads Vinding Metronome Duo, with Mads Vinding (bass)
1982 The Lullaby Baystate Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Ed Thigpen (drums)
1982 Moonlit Desert Baystate With Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Ed Thigpen (drums), The Almost Big Band
1966–83 Solo-Duo Storyville Some tracks solo; some tracks duo, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and Bo Stief (bass; separately)
1983 Swingin' Love Baystate Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Ed Thigpen (drums)
1983 And Far Away Soul Note Quartet, with Philip Catherine (guitar), Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Barry Altschul (drums)
1983 Fantasia Baystate Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Ed Thigpen (drums)
1984 Trippin' Baystate Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Ed Thigpen (drums)
1985 By Request Baystate Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Ed Thigpen (drums)
1985 By Request II Baystate Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Ed Thigpen (drums)
1986 Elegy Baystate Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Ed Thigpen (drums)
1987 Dream Baystate Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Ed Thigpen (drums)
1989 Recollections Timeless Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Alvin Queen (drums)
1993 At the Brewhouse Storyville Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Alvin Queen (drums); in concert

As sideman[edit]

With Gene Ammons

With Svend Asmussen

  • Prize/Winners (1978)

With Chet Baker

With Art Blakey

With Tina Brooks

With Clifford Brown

With John Coltrane

With Ted Curson

With Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis

With Kenny Dorham

With Teddy Edwards

With Art Farmer

With Dizzy Gillespie

With Dexter Gordon

With Grant Green

With Johnny Griffin

With Ernie Henry

With Ken McIntyre

With Jackie McLean

With Ray Nance

With Kim Parker

With Rita Reys

With Sonny Rollins

Wíth Sahib Shihab

With Sonny Stitt

With Toots Thielmans

With Ben Webster

  • Stormy Weather (1970)

With Tiziana Ghiglioni

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Feather, Leonard, & Ira Gitler (2007). The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz, Oxford University Press.
  2. ^ February 1976 liner notes to Morning by Jørgen Frigård.
  3. ^ Jazz on the Screen.

External links[edit]