Kenny Drew was born in New York City in August of 1928. At the age of 5, he began studying classical piano with a private teacher and at 8, gave a recital. This early background is similar to that of Bud Powell, the man who later became his main inspiration as a jazz pianist. After digging Fats Waller, at 12, and then Art Tatum and Teddy Wilson, Drew attended the High School of Music and Art. He was known as a hot boogie woogie player but passed through this phase before graduation.
Kenny's first professional job was as accompanist at Pearl Primus' dance school. At the same time, he was alternating with Walter Bishop Jr. in a neighborhood band that included Sonny Rollins, Jackie McLean and Art Taylor. In this period, he used to hang-out on 52nd Street to listen to Charlie Parker and Powell and began sitting in at various jam sessions around town.
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