Saturday, September 29, 2018

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Spotlight on Kenny Barron

This week, let's take a look at some videos featuring pianist Kenny Barron, who's coming here to perform starting next Wednesday, October 3 through Sunday, October 7 at Jazz St. Louis.

A 75-year-old native of Philadelphia (and the younger brother of saxophonist Bill Barron), Kenny Barron first gained wide public recognition in the early 1960s for his work with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie.

He's made nearly 50 albums as a leader and countless more as a sideman, including multiple recordings with notable musicians such as Gillespie, saxophonists Stan Getz, James Moody, and Yusef Lateef, trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, bassist Ron Carter, and many others. Named an NEA Jazz Master in 2010, he's also an important interpreter of the music of Thelonious Monk, recording Monk's compositions with the group Sphere on seven albums in the 1980s and 1990s.

Barron last played here with his trio in April 2016 at Jazz St. Louis. His most recent recording, a quintet album called Concentric Circles, came out earlier this year on the Blue Note label.

You can see and hear some samples of his playing in today's videos, starting up above with a trio version of Barron's song "Calypso," recorded in 2015 at Jazzhus Montmartre in Copenhagen, Denmark.

After the jump, Barron can be seen performing "Triste" in April 2015 at the University of Miami, accompanied by bassist Chuck Bergeron and drummer Evan Hyde.

Next up is a version of another Barron original, "Cook's Bay," recorded in August, 2014 at the Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport, MA.

That's followed by Barron doing a solo medley of Duke Ellington tunes, including "Lotus Blossom," "Single Petal of a Rose," "Melancholia," and "Star-Crossed Lovers," recorded in 2010 at the Jazz in Marciac festival in Marciac, France.

The fifth video is a full set of Barron's trio with bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa and drummer Francisco Mela, recorded in 2008 at the Heineken Jazzaldia in Donosti, Spain.

Last but not least, you can see a short video interview with Barron, in which he discusses his formative years working with Gillespie, Getz and others.

For more about Kenny Barron, read the interview he did in 2010 at the Smithsonian on the occasion of being named an NEA Jazz Master, his 2016 interview with Keyboard magazine, and a joint interview with fellow pianist Benny Green that was done earlier this year by Ethan Iverson.

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

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