Winnipeg's Jazz Magazine

May/June 2015: Esperanza Spalding

Kenny Barron: Jazz Master

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Winnipeggers will have the exciting opportunity to see one of the true masters of improvisatory music, Kenny Barron, perform at this year’s Jazz Festival. Barron is an extraordinary pianist and musician. He is steeped in the tradition of jazz music, having worked with many jazz greats such as Lee Morgan and James Moody, as well as having completed a five-year residency in Dizzy Gillespie’s band.

He is superb at creating beautiful music in different configurations, whether it be solo, duo, trio or large ensemble. He is also an active educator: he served at Rutgers University from 1973 until 2000 and currently holds a teaching position at Juilliard.

Barron moved to New York when he was 19 and since then has made an indelible mark in the lineage of jazz piano. Along with the musicians previously mentioned he has worked with nearly every major jazz artist in the past five decades. This fact is reflected in his creative output, where he has covered a variety of styles and composers. Examples include his superb duet album People Time with Stan Getz, his funk album Lucifer, his Brazilian Knights band and his Thelonious Monk cover band Sphere (which included Charlie Rouse on sax, a member of Thelonious Monk’s quartet from 1959-1970).

In 2010, Kenny Barron was named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts, another great achievement in a long list of awards and accolades. This summer’s Jazz Festival performance will no doubt reflect this jazz legend’s mastery of spontaneous composition and ability to entertain his listeners.

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