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Kenny Barron has long been recognized as one of the greatest and most influential pianists in our music. We are thrilled that he is our 2023 Giants of Jazz honoree.
– Giants of Jazz Curator John Lee
Join us for what has become a legendary event in South Orange, featuring the convergence of countless Jazz greats in an unforgettable evening of music. Curated by Jazz legend and South Orange resident John Lee, this year SOPAC celebrates a titan of Jazz piano who The Los Angeles Times lauds as “one of the top Jazz pianists in the world,” Kenny Barron!
|Johnathan Blake |
Essiet Okon Essiet
|Jeb Patton |
Jeff “Tain” Watts
Born in Philadelphia, Kenny Barron’s first professional piano gig was with Mel Melvin’s Orchestra. While still in high school, Kenny worked with drummer Philly Joe Jones and at age 19, he moved to New York City and freelanced with Roy Haynes, Lee Morgan, and James Moody, after the tenor saxophonist heard him play at the Five Spot.
Upon Moody’s recommendation, Dizzy Gillespie hired Barron in 1962 without even hearing him play a note. It was in Gillespie’s band that Barron developed an appreciation for Latin and Caribbean rhythms. After five years with Gillespie, Barron played with Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine, Milt Jackson, and Buddy Rich.
In 1973, Barron joined the faculty at Rutgers University as a Professor of Music. He held this tenure until 2000, mentoring many of today’s young talents including David Sanchez, Terence Blanchard, and Regina Bell.
In 1974, Barron recorded his first album as a leader for the Muse label, entitled “Sunset To Dawn.” This was to be the first in over 40 recordings (and still counting!) as a leader.
Barron is a nine-time Grammy nominee! His first nomination was in 1992 for “People Time” an outstanding duet with Stan Getz. This was followed by the Brazilian influenced “Sambao” and most recently for “Freefall” in 2002. His other Grammy nominations were double nominations for Best Album and Best Solo Performance for “Spirit Song;” “Night and the City” (a duet recording with Charlie Haden); and “Wanton Spirit,” a trio recording with Roy Haynes and Haden.
Jazz Weekly declares that Barron is “the most lyrical piano player of our time!” Whether he is playing solo, trio, or quintet, Barron is recognized the world over as a master of performance composition. You don’t want to miss him at SOPAC!
3 Bd | 2Full Ba
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