Kenny Drew Jr., a Bay Area pianist and composer known to jazz audiences around the world, died this past Sunday. WUSF 89.7 Jazz Director Bob Seymour shares this remembrance:
He was immensely talented and had a piano sound identifiable within just a few notes. Kenny Drew Jr., the son of a major jazz piano player, was taught largely by his aunt, and that early classical training was apparent in the virtuosity that was always a big part of his sound.
Kenny settled in St. Petersburg years ago and in addition to more than 20 albums as a leader, he worked at times with the Mingus Big Band, Stanley Turrentine and lots of others, while continuing to play European classical recitals on occasion.
But the jobs were never plentiful, despite the acclaim for his genius, and health problems had increased lately.
Kenny Drew Jr. has died at his home at age 56.
Drew last appeared on WUSF earlier this year with trumpeter Byron Stripling, which you can hear below. We'll have a tribute to Kenny Drew Jr. on All Night Jazz on WUSF 89.7 this Saturday night, starting at 9 p.m.