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Drew, Kenny

Biography

Kenneth Sidney "Kenny" Drew (August 28, 1928 – August 4, 1993) was an American jazz pianist. Born in New York City, New York, he first recorded with Howard McGhee in 1949, and over the next two years recorded with Buddy DeFranco, Coleman Hawkins, Milt Jackson, Charlie Parker, Buddy Rich, and Dinah Washington. He led many recording sessions throughout the 50s, and in 1957 appeared on John Coltrane's Blue Train. Along with several other American jazz musicians who went to Europe, in 1961 he moved to Copenhagen, Denmark. While he sacrificed much of the interest of the American jazz audience, he gained a wide following across Europe. Kenny Drew was a well-known figure on the Copenhagen jazz scene, recording many sessions with the Danish bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen. "Living in Copenhagen, and travelling out from there, I have probably worked in more different contexts than if I had stayed in New York where I might have got musically locked in with a set-group of musicians. This way, I have been able to keep my musical antennas in shape, while at the same time I have had more time to study and also get deeper into my own endeavors." Kenny Drew and Dexter Gordon appeared on screen in Ole Ege's theatrically released hardcore pornographic film Pornografi - en musical (1971), for which they composed and performed the score. On his passing in 1993, Kenny Drew was interred in the Assistens Cemetery in Nørrebro, Copenhagen. His son Kenny Drew, Jr. is also a jazz pianist.




Recordings

Drew, Kenny: Kenny Drew Solo/Duo

In these duo and solo tracks, the strength of Kennys playing is clearly discernible. It Is no surprise either, that the work of NHØP in the first four tracks, and of his contemporary Bo Stief during the closing live set, is exemplary and stimulates the pianist to some of his best improvisation. The existence of these previously unreleased recordings should serve as a reminder that here was a unique and irreplaceable contributor to the art of jazz piano.