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Kenny Burrell

Kenny Burrell is an NEA Jazz Master

After 40 years as a jazz professional, appearing on several hundred albums as leader and sideman, Kenny Burrell is among the handful of guitar greats who have forever changed the role of their instrument.

Staunch musical integrity and discriminate taste coupled with matchless technique have made the guitarist nonpareil among his peers. “My goal is to play with good tone, good phrasing and to swing,” says Burrell, “I strive for honesty in playing what I feel.”

“Master instrumentalist and composer,” “virtuoso,” “historic figure of American guitar.” “Ellington's favorite guitar player”—this is a typical sampling of the critical praise routinely bestowed on Burrell, who pioneered the guitar-led trio with bass and drums in the late Fifties. Although he has since worked in countless other formats, from big band to three guitars plus rhythm to solo, he has remained constant in his quest to get the most out of a natural, low-volume, acoustic sound. “My audience has developed so that they come to listen and are quiet,” he explains. “Thus I can work in a limited volume range and explore all the subtleties that can happen, which is my favorite part of the music.”

Aside from his performing and recording schedule, Kenny has been a teacher at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) for many years. Included in his teaching schedule is a special course that he developed on the music and life of Duke Ellington called “Ellingtonia”. Started in 1978, it was the first regular college course on Ellington taught in the United States. In addition he is also the founder and director of the Jazz Studies Program at UCLA where he is a professor of music and ethnomusicology. He is also a lecturer and director of workshops on guitar and Jazz studies, founder and President Emeritus, of the Jazz Heritage Foundation, and all around crusader for the recognition of jazz as a classical art form.

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”Burrell is the grand master of jazz guitar.” - Dizzy Gillespie

“There is no finer guitarist than Kenny Burrell.” - George Benson

“Kenny Burrell that's the sound I'm looking for.” - Jimi Hendrix

“Kenny Burrell is a great musician and his music has helped to make me what I am today.” - Stevie Wonder

“Kenny Burrell is one of my favorite guitarists.” - Pat Metheny

Photos

Albums

Unlimited 1, Live at...

HighNote Records
2016

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Tenderly

HighNote Records
2011

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Prime: Live at the...

HighNote Records
2010

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Be Yourself

Blue Note
2010

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Prime - Live at the...

HighNote Records
2009

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