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Kenny Kirkland


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September 28, 1955 - November 12, 1998


Kenny Kirkland appears on the BET TV series "Jazz Central" with his trio for a performance and short interview during the early 1990s.


Kenny Kirkland, piano
Michael Bowie, bass
Nasar Abadey, drums

Born in Brooklyn, New York on September 28, 1955, Kenney Kirkland began playing the piano when he was six and when he was older proceeded to attend the Manhattan School of Music.

The pianist's first work as a professional musician came in 1977 when he toured as a member of violinist Michal Urbaniak's band.

After meeting Wynton Marsalis during while in Japan in 1980, Kirkland was featured on Wynton's self title debut album.

He appeared on a number of subsequent releases with Wynton before joining the band of his brother Branford Marsalis.

When Branford assumed the role of bandleader for "Tonight Show", Kenny spent two years in L.A. as pianist in the assembly but left returning to the East Coast because his talents were being wasted in the position.

Kenny released his own self titled debut as a leader "Kenny Kirkland" on GRP in 1991.

Over the course of his productive career Kirkland performed with a slew of jazz talent including Don Alias, Art Blakey, Carla Bley, Donald Byrd, Kenny Burrell, Michael Brecker, Gary Burton, Ron Carter, Stanley Clarke, Gil Evans, Sonny Fortune, Frank Foster, Pharoah Sanders, John Scofield, and many others.

Kirkland has also performed with Angela Bofill, Youssou N'Dour, Angélique Kidjo, Stephen Stills and David Crosby, and Joni Mitchell.

On November 12, 1998 Kenny Kirkland died of congestive heart failure at age 43.

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