Home » Jazz Musicians » Kenny Washington - Vocals

Kenny Washington - Vocals

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.

After college, Washington played with the honorary U.S. Navy Band Guam, followed by the U.S. Navy Band 7th Fleet, stationed in Japan. He auditioned as a saxophonist, but upon discovery of his singing talent, he became one of the featured vocalists with both bands. For nine years Washington performed with the Navy bands across Asia, Russia, Australia and the U.S.

After settling in the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington had an early success with a high profile project came when he was cast in a featured role in an off-Broadway jazz theater production called Fire at Keaton's Bar & Grill, by saxophonist Roy Nathanson. Washington performed at the New York City debut in a glittering cast with Elvis Costello, Deborah Harry and Nancy King. He then went on the road for several European performances. The project was captured on an excellent cast album, released in 2000 on Six Degrees Records.

Washington returned to the national and global stage when vibraphonist Joe Locke brought Washington to New York for a week-long run at the Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, a residency that began an annual Dizzy’s tradition. Washington is featured on Joe Locke’s For The Love of You (E1 Records, 2010) and has appeared internationally with The Joe Locke Group in Germany, Georgia, and Scotland and at various festivals.

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In Pictures

Kenny Washington with the John Toomey Trio at Bank St Stage

Read "Kenny Washington with the John Toomey Trio at Bank St Stage" reviewed by Mark Robbins

After a year and a half of being shut down due to Covid, the Virginia Arts Festival opened its new season with Kenny Washington -Vocals and the John Toomey Trio. This performance was San Franciscan vocalist Washington's first gig on the road since lockdown. The audience, hungry for live entertainment, bought the 250 tickets the venue was allowed to sell (at the time of the performance social distancing was still in effect). in less than a day. The singer had ...


Kenny Washington: From the Ninth Ward to the World Stage

Read "Kenny Washington: From the Ninth Ward to the World Stage" reviewed by Mark Robbins

As a result of past visits to jny: Norfolk, Kenny Washington has amassed a large following of fans here, so it was no surprise that tickets sold out when the Virginia Arts Festival announced that he would be the first guest of the post-Covid season. As one of the best male jazz vocalist singing today, Kenny had a busy traveling schedule, both in the United States and Europe, when it all came to a sudden stop. Live venues closed, some ...

Album Review

Kenny Washington: What's The Hurry

Read "What's The Hurry" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Despite what many may think, there's no prescribed timeline for firsts and career milestones. Some artists decide to initially take the reins to record when they're 18. Others only get around to doing it when they're 80. The bottom line: The right time is the right time, and nobody should worry about getting there before they're ready. What's the hurry? Feeding into that line of thinking is the debut studio date from veteran vocalist Kenny Washington. A ...

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Performance / Tour

Kenny Washington delights - again

Kenny Washington delights - again

Source: Ken Franckling's Jazz Notes

Oakland CA-based singer Kenny Washington is a marvel, plain and simple. And his return performance to Artis Naples' All That Jazz series on Wednesday, December 13 showcased the diminutive singer's skills,tone and wide range, and his artful scatting on two of the evening's 10 tunes. Washington was special guest with the Naples Philharmonic Jazz Orchestra, which on this evening was stretched from its usual sextet to a septet. The mega-talented band this night included tenor saxophonist and artistic director Lew ...

Performance / Tour

California-based jazz singer builds his fan base one gig at a time

California-based jazz singer builds his fan base one gig at a time

Source: Ken Franckling's Jazz Notes

Jazz singer Kenny Washington has it all, musically. The diminutive vocalist, based for more than two decades in Oakland, California, has range, fluidity and a natural sense of swing. He grew up singing gospel music as a child in New Orleans- and that music's passion fuels his soulful artistry. His creativity- singing, scatting and even whistling- was on full display on Saturday, January 27 when he was the featured guest with the Dan Miller-Lew DelGatto quintet at the Sidney and ...


Performance / Tour

National Jazz Museum in Harlem's January Schedule

National Jazz Museum in Harlem's January Schedule

Source: Jim Eigo, Jazz Promo Services

The National Jazz Museum in Harlem syncopates into the New Year with a month packed with free public programs of priceless value: our newest series, Jazz for Curious Readers, features Columbia University author and scholar Farah Griffin, author of a book on Billie Holiday, and faculty member of the Center for Jazz Studies; Jacquie “Tajah" Murdock, who danced professionally at the Apollo Theater in the 1940s, lights up our Jazz in the Parks series; Jazz for Curious Listeners begins the ...




Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

What's The Hurry

Lower 9th


Dream Ago

Big Modern Music




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