Primary Instrument: Guitar
Guitarist and composer, Kenny Carr, began playing violin at age nine, but at age eleven, he realized his true passion was the guitar. Growing up in Santa Cruz with its inspiring natural beauty set the stage for Kenny’s musical career. It seemed everyone in his small California beach town loved jazz. By his early teens, he was studying jazz theory with vibraphonist Rob Lautz as well as renowned trumpeter Ray Brown. GrowIng up in Santa Cruz, he found himself surrounded by talented and aspiring musicians who became his closest friends. By age sixteen, he was performing at local venues where he met drummer Kenny Wollesen and bassist Anders Swanson, as well as 2004 Grammy nominated saxophonist Donny McCaslin. In 1981, Kenny and his fellow Santa Cruz musicians were invited to open up for Carmen McCrea and Freddie Hubbard at the Mount Tamalpais jazz festival.
After high school, Kenny attended Berklee College of Music in Boston. During his final year in 1986, he received the call to audition for Ray Charles. “I remember running onto the stage as Mr. Charles instructed me to ‘play the blues’,” Kenny explains. He toured worldwide with Ray Charles as his guitarist for over ten years.
“Friday at Five” was originally intended to be a demo project as well as an opportunity to reunite with some old Santa Cruz friends now professional musicians in New York City. “Magical things can happen when the right musicians are brought together under the right circumstances,” Kenny proclaims. Donny McCaslin and John Dryden as well as Tony Mason, John Bailey, and Andy Hess are those musicians Kenny is referring to. “Friday at Five” was recorded in a small studio in Manhattan in 1997. To create more of a “live” feel, no sound barriers were used to separate the musicians, much like recording sessions of years past. This “demo project” was finished in two days and somehow ended up in storage. Eight years later, Kenny’s music remains as fresh as the day it was recorded in 1997. This enduring vitality is the essence of Kenny Carr’s debut album “Friday at Five”.