June 2013 CD of the Month

Jan 23, 2014

Kenny Barron and The Brazilian Knights  Sunnyside Records

During the weekend of June 9th, 2012 two notable events took place for the gifted pianist Kenny Barron, he traveled to Rio de Janerio, Brazil to celebrate his 69th birthday and he went into a studio to record an album of samba/bossa jazz with an all Brazilian ensemble. The result, Kenny Barron and the Brazilian Knights for Sunnyside Records is an outstanding and authentic representation of Rio’s current “jazz brasiliero” scene. 

The renowned producer, Jacques Muyal was having lunch with Kenny at the club Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York when he asked Kenny if he would consider going to Brazil and record a CD. Kenny had made his first bossa recording back in 1963 and many others over the years since then with a wide array of musicians, however all were made in New York City. Mr. Barron’s reply was simple and direct, “Yes, I want to do it!”


Kenny Barron is considered one of jazz’s great lyrical pianists which has made him one of the most sought out players by both instrumentalists and vocalists. Born in Philadelphia, Kenny began playing with his older brother, Bill Barron who was an esteemed saxophonist. In 1963, Bill included his younger brother on his recording, The Brasilieros which sparked Kenny’s admiration for the music of Brazil, even after the 1960s Brazilian jazz explosion had subsided. Over the years Barron played and recorded Brazilian music with Dizzy Gillespie, his own groups and several Brazilian artists based in NYC including one with the famed Trio da Paz.


Besides his Brazilian music credentials, Kenny Barron is a magnificent mainstream jazz pianist who has played with an illustrious group of jazz musicians including Stan Getz and Yusef Lateef who encouraged Kenny to get his degree in music. After obtaining his B. A. in music at Empire State College, Barron became an instructor at Rutgers University and has mentored many of the current jazz giants like Terence Blanchard and David Sánchez, just to name two. Currently teaching at Juliard School of Music, Barron keeps a busy schedule leading his own trio and his Monk tribute quartet, Sphere as well as continuing to be an in-demand studio pianist. Listening to Kenny Barron and the Brazilian Knights might have you imagining being on Sugar Loaf Mountain or at the beach of Ipanema, that’s the magic of music!