Cultural Percussionist

Kenny Drew Jr Day

Kenny Drew Jr. (June 14, 1958 – August 3, 2014) was an American jazz pianist. His music is known for its hard-swinging bluesy sound and large, two-handed rooty chords contrasting with fast runs. The son of jazz pianist Kenny Drew, he did not credit his father as an influence.

His initial study was in classical music with his mother and grandmother. In his teens he became interested in jazz and pop, but initially worked in funk bands. Later he went into jazz piano and in 1990 won the Great American Jazz Piano competition in Jacksonville, Florida. Drew continued to perform jazz, but he also performed some chamber music. His style has some similarities to his father’s, but is different enough to generally avoid comparison; he was considered the more eclectic of the two men.

Drew attended Iona College in New Rochelle, New York, for a period during 1977 to 1978. There, he became pianist for the Iona College Singers, an entertainment troop promoting the college’s name and goodwill among local high schools, retirement homes and the like in the Northeast region of the USA.

Drew cited Thelonious Monk as an influence and like Monk often recorded (and performed) solo.

Drew died at home in St. Petersburg, Florida, on August 3, 2014

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