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Kenny Drew was another great Jazz pianist that just didn’t receive enough attention and so much can be said also for this real classic album, “Undercurrent.” Drew was backed up by a tremendous lineup of top Jazz musicians of the time, 1960. Not to mention, there’s a DVD version of this album also. Kenny Drew sort of moved out of the limelight after this album by adventuring abroad and relocating to Copenhagen (Read biography below). Check the schedule link for play times, enjoy!
About the Album:
The only Blue Note recording under pianist Kenny Drew’s leadership and the last to be released under his name for a thirteen-year period, during which time the pianist would relocate to Europe, Undercurrent is a strong outing by the gifted pianist, composer and session leader. In the latter capacity, his job is greatly facilitated by a frontline of saxophonist Hank Mobley and trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, whose instant compatibility had been established just weeks earlier on Mobley’s sterling Roll Call (Blue Note, 1960). Moreover, the rhythm team of bassist Sam Jones and drummer Louis Hayes had become one of the more efficient power plants in jazz because of its nightly duties with the Cannonball Adderley Quintet during the same year as its best-selling At the Lighthouse (Riverside, 1960), which included the hit single “Sack O’ Woe.”
Undercurrent has nothing as viscerally infectious as the Adderley tune but is an admirable program of Drew originals, ranging from the modal, streaming title piece to the self-descriptive “Funk- Cosity,” a sort of fleshed-out variation on Bobby Timmons’ “Moanin’.”Learn More
Biography of Kenny Drew:
Kenny Drew was born in New York City in August of 1928. At the age of 5, he began studying classical piano with a private teacher and at 8, gave a recital. This early background is similar to that of Bud Powell, the man who later became his main inspiration as a jazz pianist. After digging Fats Waller, at 12, and then Art Tatum and Teddy Wilson, Drew attended the High School of Music and Art. He was known as a hot boogie woogie player but passed through this phase before graduation.
Kenny’s first professional job was as accompanist at Pearl Primus’ dance school. At the same time, he
was alternating with Walter Bishop Jr. in a neighborhood band that included Sonny Rollins, Jackie McLean and Art Taylor. In this period, he used to hang-out on 52nd Street to listen to Charlie Parker and Powell and began sitting in at various jam sessions around town.
In January of 1950, Drew made his first appearance on record, with Blue Note. Howard McGhee was the leader and the other featured soloists were Brew Moore and J.J. Johnson. One of the six sides released was “I’ll Remember April.” The label, in addition to stating “Howard McGhee’s All Stars”, further read, “Introducing Kenny Drew.”
Later, in 1953, Kenny made his first album as a leader. Again it was Blue Note who recorded him, this time in a trio with Curly Russell and Art Blakey. But Kenny opted to settle in Los Angeles for the next few years. There in 1955, he formed a quartet with the late Joe Maini, Leroy Vinnegar and Lawrence Marable…….Read More