Kenny Burrell

Burrell was born in Detroit, Michigan to a musical family and began playing guitar at the age of 12. His influences as a guitar player include Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt, and Wes Montgomery. While a student at Wayne State University, he made his debut recording as a member of Dizzy Gillespie’s sextet in 1951, later he recorded the “Ground Round” single at Fortune Records in Detroit. He toured with Oscar Peterson after graduating in 1955 and then moved to New York City in 1956.[1]

A consummate sideman, Burrell recorded with a wide range of prominent musicians. He has also led his own groups since 1951 and recorded many well received albums.[1]

In the 1970s he began leading seminars about music, particularly Duke Ellington’s. A highly popular performer, he has won several jazz polls in Japan and the United Kingdom as well as the United States.

He has recorded about 106 albums, including Midnight Blue (1963), Blue Lights, Guitar Forms, Sunup To Sundown (1990), Soft Winds (1993), Then Along Came Kenny (1993), and Lotus Blossom (1995).

In 2001, Burrell performed “C Jam Blues” with Medeski, Martin & Wood for the Red Hot Organization’s compilation album Red Hot + Indigo, a tribute to Duke Ellington, which raised money for various charities devoted to increasing AIDS awareness and fighting the disease.

As of 1996, Burrell has served as Director of Jazz Studies at UCLA, mentoring such notable alumni as Gretchen Parlato and Kalil Wilson.[2] Burrell teaches a course titled “Ellingtonia”, examining the life and accomplishments of Duke Ellington.



  1.  Gil Evans Orch, Kenny Burrell & Phil Woods – Blues in Orbit, Verve Records
  2.  Kenny Burrell – Mother-In-Law, Cadet
  3.  Kenny Burrell wirh Art BlakeyBirks’ Works, Blue Note
  4.  Kenny Burrell & John ColtrameBig Paul, Prestige
  5.  Kenny BurrellLost in the stars, Concord Jazz
  6. Kenny BurrellTin tin deo, Concord Jazz
  7. Kenny BurrellRock salt, Blue Note
  8. Kenny BurrellIn a mellow tone, Fantasy
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