Kenny Barron's unmatched ability to mesmerize audiences with his elegant playing, sensitive melodies and infectious rhythms is what inspired The Los Angeles Times to name him one of the top jazz pianists in the world and Jazz Weekly to call him The most lyrical piano player of our time.
Philadelphia is the birthplace of many great musicians, including one of the undisputed masters of the jazz piano: Kenny Barron. Kenny was born in 1943 and while a teenager, started playing professionally with Mel Melvin's orchestra. This local band also featured Barron's brother Bill, the late tenor saxophonist. At age 19, Kenny moved to New York City and was hired by James Moody after the tenor saxophonist heard him play at the Five Spot.
He joined Dizzy Gillespie's band in 1962, where he developed an appreciation for Latin and Caribbean rhythms. After five years with Dizzy, Barron played with Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine, Milt Jackson, and Buddy Rich. In 1971 he joined Yusef Lateef's band. It is Lateef who Kenny credits as a key influence in his art for improvisation. In 1973 Kenny joined the faculty at Rutgers University as professor of music. He held this tenure until 2000, mentoring many of today's young talents including David Sanchez, Terence Blanchard, and Regina Bell. In 1974 he recorded his first album as a leader for the Muse label, entitled Sunset To Dawn. This was to be the first of over 40 recordings (and still counting!) as a leader.