Barron, Kenny(actually, Kenneth)

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Barron, Kenny(actually, Kenneth)

Barron, Kenny(actually, Kenneth), pianist, composer, brother of Bill Barron; b. Philadelphia, June 9, 1943. Encouraged by his parents, he began piano studies at the age of 12 with the sister of Ray Bryant. He had his first professional gig two years later with Mel Melvin’s Orch. playing alongside his older brother, Bill, with whom he periodically performed and recorded in later years. Bill also introduced him to Jimmy and Tootie Heath, Coltrane, and Lee Morgan, and he also worked with Philly Joe Jones. In 1961, he moved to N.Y. after high school graduation, worked with Roy Haynes, and at the end of the year joined Gillespie’s group, on James Moody’s advice, staying until 1966. During this time, he studied recordings of Tommy Flanagan, Hank Jones, and Wynton Kelly. Stints with Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine, Buddy Rich, Ron Carter, and many others followed.

Barron became one of the most in-demand recording artists in jazz. He made his first album as a leader in 1974, a year after he’d been appointed to the faculty of Rutgers Univ. He became a tenured professor; he retired in June 1999, primarily to keep up with his huge career and long list of gigs. In 1986, he recorded with Stan Getz and toured Europe with him the next year. In 1989, he founded the collective quartet Sphere (dedicated to the music of Thelonious Monk); since then, he often fronts his own trios and quintets. In the early 1990s, Barron hooked up again with Getz, who made his final live recording in a duo with the pianist.


Sunset at Dawn (1973); Peruvian Blue (1974); Lucifer (1975); In Tandem (1975); Golden Lotus (1980); At the Piano (1981); Spiral (1982); Green Chimneys (1983); Autumn in N.Y. (1984); 1 + 1 + 1 (1984); Scratch (1985); What If? (1986); Two As One (1986); Live at Fat Tuesdays (1988); Rhythm-A-Ning (1989); Only One (1990); Live at Maybeck Recital Hall (1990); Invitation (1990); Quickstep (1991); Moment (1991); Mitchell’s Talking (1991); Lemuria- Seascape (1991); Sambao (1993); Other Places (1993); Wanton Spirit (1994). S. Getz: Voyage (1986); Anniversary (1987); Serenity (1987); People Time (1992).

—Lewis Porter

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Barron, Kenny(actually, Kenneth)

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