Described as “a veritable Picasso of the jazz guitar world” (20th Century Guitar), and “one of the most skilled, creative, and original guitarist/composers currently recording” (Acoustic Guitar), nylon-string guitarist Ken Hatfield is known for his formidable fingerstyle technique and original compositional voice that draws on influences as diverse as jazz, classical, Brazilian, and Appalachian music. His important contributions as a composer have earned him wide recognition, including the prestigious ASCAP Foundation Jazz Vanguard Award for “innovative and distinctive music that is charting new directions in jazz” (2006).
Hatfield’s nine CDs as a leader demonstrate his tremendous gifts as both composer and performer and attest to his consistently high level of artistry. 2006’s String Theory, which highlights Hatfield’s technical virtuosity and versatility as he performs a group of original works composed for classical guitar, dobro, and mandolin, was lauded by Andy Ellis in Guitar Player for its “fresh guitar sounds and novel concepts” and “brainy, dynamic, and relentlessly melodic” playing. His 2003 trio release The Surrealist Table was described by Ron Forbes-Roberts in Acoustic Guitar as “. . . an empathetic session brimming with beautifully realized musical ideas and stellar playing” and was chosen by Bill Milkowski in JAZZIZ as one of the top 20 acoustic guitar albums to have. And Hatfield’s 2002 ensemble recording Phoenix Rising was “Recommended for those with an affinity for the subtle and sublime” by Jim Ferguson in JazzTimes. Ken’s most recent and most ambitious recording project, For Langston, is a jazz song cycle for sextet in which he set to music poems by Langston Hughes (release date 2/1/13).