Born: June 14, 1958 Primary Instrument: Piano
Kenny Drew, Jr. was born in New York City in 1958. He started music lessons at the age of four. After studying classical piano with his Aunt Marjorie, he branched out into the area of jazz music.
Kenny Jr. has performed worldwide with a comprehensive variety of musicians, including Stanley Jordan, Out of the Blue (OTB), Stanley Turrentine, Slide Hampton and the Jazz Masters, the Mingus Big Band, Steve Grossman, Yoshiaki Masuo, Sadao Watanabe, Smokey Robinson, Frank Morgan, Daniel Schnyder, and many others.
Kenny Drew Jr. was the winner of the 1990 Great American jazz Piano Competition in Jacksonville FL. He has appeared as a leader at many major festivals, including the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, Kyoto Jazz Festival, Savannah on Stage Festival, Clearwater Jazz Festival, and the Newark Jazz Festival.
Kenny has also performed as leader at many major jazz clubs around the country, such as Bradley's (NY), Visiones (NY), The Blue Note (NY), Blues Alley (DC), Fat Tuesday's (NY), The VIllage Gate (NY), Trumpets (NJ), The Jazz Showcase (Chicago), Twins Lounge (DC), One Step Down (DC), and the Montreal Bistro (Toronto).
He has recorded nine albums as a leader and has also made numerous recordings as a sideman.
Within the last couple of years, Kenny has performed at concerts & in clubs with: The Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, the Faddis/Hampton/Heath Sextet, Steve Turre, Jack Walrath, David Sanchez, Jack Wilkins, Michael Mossman, Ronnie Cuber, Steve Slagle, and Marlena Shaw.
Some of the more memorable performances in 1997 included appearances with Jon Faddis, Slide Hampton, and Jimmy Heath at the Montreal North Sea, and Lugano festivals and with the Mingus Big Band at the Chicago & Detroit festivals. Kenny also played with Stanley Turrentine on the SS Norway jazz cruise.
Kenny Drew, Jr. has also begun to gain a reputation as a performer of classical music. He has performed both jazz & classical music at the Barossa Music Festival in Australia in 1996 & 1997.
The classical repertoire included Bach concertos and music by African-American composers. These concerts consisted of solo piano recitals and appearances with renowned classical musicians such as violinist Jane Peters and pianist Peter Waters.
Kenny has also been playing with a classical/chamber-jazz trio led by composer/saxophonist/flautist Daniel Schnyder, with David Taylor on bass trombone. In addition to appearances at the Barossa Festival in 1997, the group has also performed concerts in Switzerland and New York.
Among Kenny's recordings with Daniel Schnyder are, the Sonata for Soprano Saxophone & Piano and the Sonata for Bass Trombone & Piano (with David Taylor). Kenny also participated in the recording of Schnyder's Third Symphony with the Basel Radio Orchestra under the direction of Hans Drewanz.
Other groups and artists Kenny has performed with are: The Absolute Ensemble, The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Shirley Horn,Teddy Edwards and Henry Johnson. Kenny also played a solo piano tribute to Duke Ellington on Ellington's 100th birthday at the Tonhalle in Zurich. He has recently appeared with his own trio at the Village Vanguard in New York,the Jazz Showcase in Chicago and on the Queen Elizabeth 2 Jazz Cruise.
Kenny also participated in a performance of Charles Mingus' large-scale composition Epitaph at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam under the direction of Gunther Schuller.
Kenny Drew continued his career as a classical pianist, performing a Mozart concerto in April 2000 with the Milwaukee Symphony conducted by Andreas Delfs. He also appeared at the International Bach Festival 2000 in Leipzig,playing Bach's music with Daniel Schnyder and David Taylor.There will be more classical performances at the Barossa Festival 2000 in Australia,the 2000 Luzern Piano Festival and in Key West in March 2001.
Kenny's next recording will be released in November 2000 on the TCB label. It is titled Remembrance and features the rhythm section of Tony Jefferson and Santi Debriano along with special guests Wallace Roney and Stefon Harris.
In March 2001, Kenny Drew Jr. played a very well-received solo classical recital in Key West,FL, performing works by Haydn, Mozart, Chopin and Liszt.
In the same month, Kenny recorded his 20th album as a leader, Autumn, for the Japanese label Pony Canyon. The CD also features George Mraz on bass and Tony Jefferson on drums. He also recorded a CD of two-piano jazz arrangements of music by Ravel with pianist Peter Waters. This CD, which was recorded in Switzerland, also features the Winterthur Chamber Orchestra. In the summer of 2001, Kenny Drew Jr. was one of the teachers at the Engadin International Summer Piano Academy in Switzerland, giving master classes and private lessons. He was also one of the featured artists at the West Coast Jazz Party in California. In the fall he did a successful tour of Switzerland with Daniel Schnyder, including a concert with members of the Zurich Opera Orchestra. Kenny played two concerts at the Umea Jazz Festival in Sweden in October 2001, including a performance of Daniel Schnyder's Piano Concerto with the Norrlands Opera Orchestra under the direction of Krystian Jarvi. This concert was recorded for release as a CD.