Kenny Drew

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Kenny Drew
Kenny Drew.jpg
Background information
Birth nameKenneth Sidney Drew
Born(1928-08-28)August 28, 1928
New York, U.S.
DiedAugust 4, 1993(1993-08-04) (aged 64)
Copenhagen, Denmark
GenresJazz, post-bop, hard bop, mainstream jazz
Instrument(s)Piano
LabelsBlue Note, Xanadu, SteepleChase, Riverside, Verve, Soul Note, Storyville

Kenneth Sidney "Kenny" Drew (August 28, 1928[1] – August 4, 1993)[2] was an American jazz pianist.

Biography[edit]

Drew was born in New York City, United States,[1] and received piano lessons from the age of five.[3] 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.[3] 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.[3] He led many recording sessions throughout the 1950s, and in 1957 appeared on John Coltrane's album, Blue Train.[1]

Drew was one of the American jazz musicians who settled in Europe around this period: he moved to Paris in 1961 and to Copenhagen three years later.[3] 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.[1] "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."[4]

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.[5]

Drew died in August 1993 in Copenhagen, Denmark[2] (he had stomach cancer, but it was unclear if this was the cause of death) 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).[6]

His son, Kenny Drew Jr., was also a jazz pianist.[1]

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".[3]

Discography[edit]

As leader[edit]

Year recorded Title Label Year released Notes
1953 New Faces, New Sounds Blue Note 1953 Trio, with Curly Russell (bass), Art Blakey (drums)
1953–54 Kenny Drew and His Progressive Piano Norgran 1954 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 1956 Quartet, with Joe Maini (alto sax, tenor sax), Leroy Vinnegar (bass), Lawrence Marable (drums)
1956 Embers Glow Jazz: West 1956 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 1956 Trio, with Paul Chambers (bass), Philly Joe Jones (drums)
1957 A Harry Warren Showcase Judson 1957 Duo, with Wilbur Ware (bass)
1957 A Harold Arlen Showcase Judson 1957 Duo, with Wilbur Ware (bass)
1957 I Love Jerome Kern Riverside 1957 Duo, with Wilbur Ware (bass)
1957 This Is New Riverside 1957 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 1958 Trio, with Wilbur Ware (bass), Philly Joe Jones (drums)
1960 Undercurrent Blue Note 1961 Quintet, with Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), Hank Mobley (tenor sax), Sam Jones (bass), Louis Hayes (drums)
1973 Duo SteepleChase 1973 Duo, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass)
1973 Everything I Love SteepleChase 1974 Solo piano
1974 Duo 2 SteepleChase 1974 Duo, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass)
1974 Dark Beauty SteepleChase 1974 Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Albert Heath (drums)
1974 If You Could See Me Now SteepleChase 1975 Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Albert Heath (drums)
1974 Duo Live in Concert SteepleChase 1975 Duo, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass); in concert
1975 Morning SteepleChase 1976 Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Philip Catherine (guitar)
1977 In Concert SteepleChase 1979 Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Philip Catherine (guitar); in concert
1977 Lite Flite SteepleChase 1977 Quintet, with Thad Jones (flugelhorn, cornet), Bob Berg (tenor sax), George Mraz (bass), Jimmy Cobb (drums)
1977 Ruby, My Dear SteepleChase 1980 Trio, with David Friesen (bass), Clifford Jarvis (drums)
1978 Home Is Where the Soul Is Xanadu 1978 Trio, with Leroy Vinnegar (bass guitar), Frank Butler (drums)
1978 For Sure! Xanadu 1978 Quintet, with Charles McPherson (alto sax), Sam Noto (trumpet), Leroy Vinnegar (bass), Frank Butler (drums)
1981 It Might as Well Be Spring Soul Note 1982 Solo piano
1981 Your Soft Eyes Soul Note 1982 Trio, with Mads Vinding (bass), Ed Thigpen (drums)
1982 Playtime: Children's Songs by Kenny Drew and Mads Vinding Metronome 1982 Duo, with Mads Vinding (bass)
1982 The Lullaby Baystate 1982 Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Ed Thigpen (drums)
1982? Moonlit Desert Baystate 1982 With Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Ed Thigpen (drums), The Almost Big Band
1966–83 Solo-Duo Storyville 1996 Some tracks solo; some tracks duo, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and Bo Stief (bass; separately)
1983? Swingin' Love Baystate 1983 Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Ed Thigpen (drums)
1983 And Far Away Soul Note 1983 Quartet, with Philip Catherine (guitar), Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Barry Altschul (drums)
1983 Fantasia Baystate 1987 Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Ed Thigpen (drums)
1984 Trippin' Baystate 1984 Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Ed Thigpen (drums)
1985 By Request Baystate 1985 Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Ed Thigpen (drums)
1985 By Request II Baystate 1986 Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Ed Thigpen (drums)
1986 Elegy Baystate 1987 Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Ed Thigpen (drums)
1987? Dream Baystate 1987 Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Ed Thigpen (drums)
1988 Impressions Timeless 1988 Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Alvin Queen (drums)
1989 Recollections Timeless 1989 Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Alvin Queen (drums)
1990 Expressions Timeless 1990 Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Alvin Queen (drums)
1991 Standards Request Live at the Keystone Korner Tokyo Vol.1 Timeless 1998 Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Alvin Queen (drums)
1991 Standards Request Live at the Keystone Korner Tokyo Vol.2 Timeless 1998 Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Alvin Queen (drums)
1992? At the Brewhouse Storyville 1992 Trio, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass), Alvin Queen (drums); in concert

As sideman[edit]

With Gene Ammons

With Svend Asmussen

  • Prize/Winners (Baystate, 1978)

With Chet Baker

With Art Blakey

With Tina Brooks

With Clifford Brown

With Benny Carter

With Paul Chambers

With John Coltrane

  • High Step (Blue Note, 1975) – recorded in 1956
  • Blue Train (Blue Note, 1958) – recorded in 1957

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

  • Sentiments (Storyville, 1972) – recorded in 1971

With Sonny Stitt

With Toots Thielemans

With Ben Webster

  • Stormy Weather (Black Lion, 1970) – recorded in 1965
  • Sunday Morning At The Montmartre (Black Lion, 1977) – recorded in 1965. reissued as Gone with the Wind.

With Tiziana Ghiglioni

  • Sounds Of Love (Soul Note, 1983)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Who's Who of Jazz (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 126. ISBN 0-85112-580-8.
  2. ^ a b "Obituary: Kenny Drew". The Independent. 23 October 2011. Retrieved August 24, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e Feather, Leonard, & Ira Gitler (2007). The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz, Oxford University Press.
  4. ^ February 1976 liner notes to Morning by Jørgen Frigård.
  5. ^ "PORNOGRAFI". Memory.loc.gov. July 26, 1971. Retrieved July 26, 2021.
  6. ^ "Kenny Drew, Jazz Pianist, 64". The New York Times. August 7, 1993. Retrieved July 26, 2021.

External links[edit]