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Farewell: Kenny Drew Jr.

6.14.58–8.3.14

Kenny Drew Jr.
Kenny Drew Jr.
Kenny Drew Jr.

Musicians like to talk shop. Somebody hears somebody new, like a player with something really different, and that somebody will tell his or her colleagues about it: “There’s a cat in town who’s blowin’ some new and heavy stuff! You should check it out!” Word got out around town and we checked KD out. Donald Harrison and I went down to Bradley’s in New York to hear him-he was playing solo. I had heard Kenny a few months before in Toronto and hipped Donald to Kenny’s playing. So we went and we were blown away. There was that urgency in Kenny’s playing that smacked of high-level virtuosos like Brecker and Coltrane. You know that urgency-Freddie Hubbard and Art Tatum also come to mind. It’s a great quality; it gets your attention.

Kenny was intense. We got to play together from time to time in the Mingus Guitars-when John Hicks couldn’t make it-doing things like “Sue’s Changes,” with that Promethean piano part. And yeah, Kenny could sight-read like nobody’s business.

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