Kenny Washington thrills audiences across the globe with his soulful interpretations, seemingly limitless range, and rapid-fire scatting. The New Orleans native, now based in the San Francisco Bay Area, appeared in 2013 at Jazz At Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis and The Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra to perform Marsalis’ Pulitzer Prize-winning oratorio Blood On The Fields, alongside vocalists Gregory Porter and Paula West. In 2014, Washington returned to Jazz at Lincoln Center to perform Basie & The Blues with pianist Eric Reed and again in 2016 as the featured vocalist in JALC’s tribute to Frank Sinatra, in celebration of Sinatra’a 100th birthday. In 2017, Washington performed with Wynton Marsalis and The Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra and vocalist Roberta Gambarini to celebrate Ella Fitzgerald’s 100th birthday.
Born and raised in New Orleans, Washington grew up singing gospel in the church where his parents were choir members and playing saxophone in school bands. Jazz caught his interest during his senior year of high school, when the great clarinetist Alvin Batiste performed at his school with a band of students that included two precociously talented teenage brothers named Branford and Wynton Marsalis. Inspired, Washington went on to study music at Xavier University, playing saxophone and singing in a variety of styles including pop, classical, R&B and jazz, while listening closely to Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Mel Tormé.