All About Jazz

Home » Musicians » Kenny Drew

Kenny Drew Kenny Drew

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.

In January of 1950, Drew made his first appearance on record, with Blue Note. Howard McGhee was the leader and the other featured soloists were Brew Moore and J.J. Johnson. One of the six sides released was “I'll Remember April.” The label, in addition to stating “Howard McGhee's All Stars”, further read, “Introducing Kenny Drew.”

Later, in 1953, Kenny made his first album as a leader. Again it was Blue Note who recorded him, this time in a trio with Curly Russell and Art Blakey. But Kenny opted to settle in Los Angeles for the next few years. There in 1955, he formed a quartet with the late Joe Maini, Leroy Vinnegar and Lawrence Marable. The quartet first recorded together in 1955 for Pacific Jazz. In December, Jazz West, a subsidiary of Aladdin Records, brought the quartet as is into Capitol's recording studios for “Talkin' & Walkin'.”

Read more

Tags

Reassessing
Album Review
Film Review
Multiple Reviews
Album Review
Read more articles

Photos

Albums

Album Undercurrent by Kenny Drew

Undercurrent

Blue Note Records
2007

buy
Album Sunday Mornin' by Grant Green

Sunday Mornin'

Blue Note Records
2005

buy
Album Progressive Piano by Kenny Drew

Progressive Piano

PolyGram Records
1992

buy
 

Duo

Blue Note
1988

buy

Watch

Similar

Shop Amazon

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.