His professional career began in 1957 in the band of Mel Melvin, which also played his brother Bill. After moving to New York in 1959, he first played with Philly Joe Jones, then with Yusef Lateef, James Moody and Lee Morgan. Lateef had - as Barron says himself - a big influence on his improvisational manner. In 1961 he was engaged by Lou Donaldson to switch two years later to Dizzy Gillespie Quintet, where he became the successor of Lalo Schifrin. After a European tour, he joined Freddie Hubbard and then played with Jimmy Owens, Joe Henderson, Esther Marrow, Milt Jackson, Stanley Turrentine and Stan Getz. Then Barron in 1970 got back at Yusef Lateef. In 1973 the album Sunset to Dawn for Muse Records; In 1981, he formed the group Sphere with Charlie Rouse (later replaced by Gary Bartz ).
Barron was nominated several times for the Grammy Awards, including for PeopleSoft Time ( with Stan Getz ), Sambao, Night and the City ( with Charlie Haden ), Wanton Spirit ( with Charlie Haden and Roy Haynes ) and Spirit song. He has already won four times in a row the award for Best Pianist by the Jazz Journalists Association.
1973-2000 taught Kenny Barron at Rutgers University. His brother was the tenor saxophonist Bill Barron ( 1927-1989 ).
His compositions have been interpreted by many musicians; saxophonist Harvey Wainapel took a whole album with Barron titles on ( " Ambrosia ").
The swinging, equally versed in the percussive phrasing as bound round pianist is appreciated by many soloists, especially singers, to be the ideal companion. In many recordings as a sideman, he is the ultimate driving force. He improvised varied and imaginative.
In 2010 he received the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship.
In an interview he said that he would willing to experiment with increasing age, more musically daring and issued out from the usual musical security.
Disco Graphical Notes
- Sunset to Town ( Muse, 1973) with Warren Smith, Bob Cranshaw, Freddie Waits
- Green Chimneys ( Criss Cross, 1983) with Buster Williams, Ben Riley
- Scratch ( Enja, 1985) with Dave Holland, Daniel Humair
- Rhythm -A- Ning ( Candid, 1989) with Walter Booker, Jimmy Cobb
- The Artistry of Kenny Barron (Wave, 1990) with Peter Ind, Mark Taylor
- People Time ( Emarcy, 1991) with Stan Getz
- Other Places ( Verve, 1993) with Bobby Hutcherson, Rufus Reid, Victor Lewis, Mino Cinelu
- But Beautiful ( Steeplechase, 2000) Duo with Joe Locke