Saturday, January 31, 2015

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Spotlight on Kenny Barron

Today, let's take a look at some video clips featuring pianist Kenny Barron, who will be performing with vibraphonist Stefon Harris starting next Wednesday, February 4 through Saturday, February 7 at Jazz at the Bistro. This will be his first time playing at the Bistro since 2010, when he did a run of duo piano performances with the late Mulgrew Miller. He also led his own group there back in 2006.

Now 71 years old, Barron is a Philadelphia native who first gained wide attention in the early 1960s working with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. He's also performed and recorded with Stan Getz, Yusef Lateef, James Moody, Joe Henderson, Ron Carter, and many other significant jazz musicians, and is known for exploring the music of Thelonious Monk as a co-leader of the group Sphere.

When not engaged in these sorts of collaborations, leading his own bands, or playing solo, Barron also is a jazz educator who taught music for more than 25 years at Rutgers University and currently teaches at Juilliard. Though perhaps not quite as well-known among casual jazz fans as his contemporaries Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, or McCoy Tyner, Barron is a versatile and technically accomplished player who's very well-regarded among his fellow musicians, and he was named an NEA Jazz Master in 2010.

In the first video up above, you can see and hear him playing "Autumn Leaves" in a trio with bassist Bob Cranshaw and drummer Alan Dawson (undated but presumably from the early 1990s, as Dawson passed away in 1996). After the jump, there's a clip of Barron playing "Have You Met Miss Jones" with Cranshaw and Grady Tate on drums, recorded in 1995 in Japan 

That's followed by two duets with bassist Dave Holland, another recurring collaborator of Barron's in recent years. They're seen here playing "Billie's Bounce" and "Calypso" in 2012 at the Jazz à la Villette festival in France.

The last two videos are solo performances - first, "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You," recorded in 2000 at the Jazz à Marciac festival, also in France, followed by a medley of Duke Ellington songs including "Lotus Blossom," "Single Petal of a Rose," "Melancholia,' and "Star-Crossed Lovers," recorded in 2010 at Marciac.

For more about Kenny Barron, check out this interview from 2013; this 2013 compilation from writer Ted Panken of a 2005 Down Beat feature and WKCR Interviews From 1991 and 2004; and this 2003 "fireside chat" from

You can see the rest of today's videos after the jump...

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