Remembering Kenny Drew


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Had he lived, pianist Kenny Drew would have celebrated his 87th birthday today. Drew first recorded with trumpeter Howard McGhee in 1950, when he was 22. He went on to play and record with many of the leading artists in jazz, including Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Buddy DeFranco, Dinah Washington, Art Blakey, John Coltrane, Zoot Sims, Johnny Griffin and Buddy Rich. Drew settled in Paris in 1961 and moved to Copenhagen three years later, where he became a featured artist at Jazzhus Montmartre. At the Montmartre, he played with Dexter Gordon, Kenny Dorham, Sonny Rollins and a variety of other visiting American stars and developed a bond with the Danish bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen. His trio with NHOP and drummer Alvin Queen appeared to great acclaim throughout Europe. Here they are, the year before Drew’s death, at the Brewhouse Theater in Taunton, Somerset, England. They play the traditional song “Hush-a-Bye.”

Kenny Drew died on August 4, 1993 in Copenhagen. He is buried there in the Assistens Cemetry in Nørrebro.

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This story appears courtesy of Rifftides by Doug Ramsey.
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