Born: June 9, 1953 Primary Instrument: Guitar
Top charting & award winning contemporary jazz guitarist and composer Ken Navarro is recognized as one of today's leading musicians. His impressive discography of 19 top charting albums showcase his appeal to a wide range of listeners with inspiring compositions and superb guitar performances.
Navarro's brand new CD Dreaming of Trains will be released on January 16, 2010 exclusively at kennavarro.com with a national retail release date of March 16, 2010. Ken's nine new compositions and his signature acoustic and electric guitar work are supported by world class musicians including drummer Joel Rosenblatt (Spyro Gyra, Manhatten Transfer), acoustic and electric bassist Tom Kennedy (Dave Weckl, Al DiMeola), and keyboardist Jay Rowe (Special EFX, Marion Meadows).
This is Ken's 19th CD release and is the follow up to his breakthrough release of 2008, The Grace of Summer Light which was named the #1 Contemporary Jazz CD of 2008 by Jazz Times magazine.
Navarro's 2007 CD The Meeting Place and his 2005 release Love Coloured Soul were in the National Jazz Charts for 62 weeks, reaching #6 in Radio & Records national smooth jazz airplay chart in November of 2005. Love Coloured Soul marked Ken’s return to his own record label, Positive Music Records. Ken’s 2003 release All The Way, and his 2002 CD Slow Dance spawned numerous radio hits including “Bringing Down The House”, “In The Sky Today”, “So Fine” and “Healing Hands”. Ken’s 2000 CD release Island Life scored two hits at smooth jazz radio including Delicioso, as well as the title track keeping the CD on the airwaves for a solid 52 weeks! 1999's In My Wildest Dreams continues to be one of Ken's top sellers and 1998's live CD & Video Ablaze in Orlando has been acclaimed as one of the best live jazz CDs of the decade. Smooth Sensation, released in 1997, was in the Top 10 of Radio & Records' Smooth Jazz chart for 12 weeks, helping to make the CD the #17 Smooth Jazz album of 1997! Other recent releases from Ken Navarro include his 1996 album, When Night Calls, featuring Eric Marienthal on saxophone, and Christmas Cheer, a holiday album of contemporary jazz guitar and acoustic piano duets.
Ken's 1995 album, Brighter Days, was voted the #9 album of the year by Smooth Jazz radio. Brighter Days heralded a bold step forward for Ken, bringing to the forefront the strong R&B elements that have always been a part of his music, and enlisting a powerhouse of support from featured solo artists including former Rippingtons sax man Brandon Fields. Brighter Days reached the national radio top 5 and held a position in the top 20 for six months in 1995. His 1991 release, After Dark, was selected for screening by the 1991 GRAMMY nominating committee. His successive albums, The Labor of Love (1992), I Can't Complain (1993), and Pride and Joy (1994), all reached the top 5 in national radio, firmly establishing Ken Navarro as a mainstay on Smooth Jazz radio play lists.
Ken began his recording career in Los Angeles as a premier session guitarist, performer and composer, performing and recording with artists as diverse as Doc Severinsen, Nell Carter, John Patitucci, Eric Gale, Vicki Carr, Dave Koz, Ann Jillian and Alex Acuna. In 1990, Ken established his own musical identity with the release of his debut album, The River Flows. With each successive album, Ken has received increasing acclaim and recognition as a leading stylist in Contemporary Jazz. His music is distributed throughout the world from Japan to Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Britain, Australia, Chile, Brazil, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, the Netherlands and even in China. Customized greatest hit collections were recently released in Singapore and Japan.
Ken maintains an active schedule of concert appearances as part of his quartet, the Ken Navarro Group. Highlights of his tour schedule have included appearances at Chene Park in Detroit, Blues Alley in Washington D.C., the World Trade Center site in New York, the Carter Barron Amphitheater in Washington, D.C., Merriweather Post Pavillion in MD, Jacksonville Jazz Fest, Clearwater Jazz Holiday, the Pleasure Island Jazz Fest, the Venetian Festival, the Winter Park Arts Festival, The Thornton Winery, The Spirit Festival in Kansas City and concerts where the group has shared the stage with artists such as Spyro Gyra, Chuck Mangione, Najee, Chris Botti, Eric Marienthal, The Rippingtons, Joe Sample, Jean Luc Ponty, Stanley Clarke/Larry Carlton, George Howard, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Fattburger, Marion Meadows, Keiko Matsui, Nelson Rangell, David Benoit, Alex Bugnon, Boney James and many others.
Ken's contribution to Contemporary and Mainstream Jazz goes beyond his personal artistry. Ken has produced successful albums for Narada/EMI recording artist Eric Darius as well as saxophonist Randy Villars and pianist Jay Rowe to name a few. As founder of Positive Music Records, Ken is responsible for launching and furthering the recording careers of saxophonist Brandon Fields, guitarists Grant Geissman, Thom Rotella and Pat Kelley, and keyboardists Gregg Karukas, Jay Rowe and Marcus Johnson. Ken's vision of a musician's record label has enhanced the genre with over 35 new artists and seventy releases.