| Died: December 19, 2008 Primary Instrument: Piano
Re-introducing Kenn Cox
Blue Note reissues put a Detroiter back on the jazz map
This could be the picture of a guy enjoying retirement. Kenn Cox is sitting in the family room of his west side Detroit home, dressed casually with a cold beer and a burning cigarette at hand. He's surrounded by his history and jazz history: the piano that his mother purchased for him is in the center of the room. Paintings that reference Duke Ellington and Lester Young hang on the wall.
But rather than talking about retirement, Cox says he's enjoying a sort of rebirth at 67. He's got a regular trio gig at Baker's Keyboard, he's excited about a new percussion-heavy combo ... and the Blue Note label recently reissued the discs that Cox and his Contemporary Jazz Quintet comrades recorded back in 1968 and 1969.
It's a good time for this consummate pianist who can bop for sure, but can also kick back in the Fats Waller songbook and stretch out into avant-garde territory, and who does it all with imagination and facility.
Yet when he tells his musical story, it begins with a kid who did not want to study piano at all...MORE