Kenny Burrell

Kenny Burrell was born in 1931 in Detroit, Michigan.

He began playing the guitar at age 12 and went on to study composition and theory and classical guitar with Louis Cabara and Joe Fava. He attended Wayne State University and recorded his 1st song with Dizzy Gillespie’s sextet in 1951. Burrell founded the New World Music Society and recruited musicians from Detroit such as Pepper Adams, Donald Byrd, Elvin Jones and Yusef Lateef to collaborate and perform with.

In 1955, Kenny began touring with Oscar Peterson. Soon after that, he moved to New York City and began gigging with Tommy Flanagan.

Burrell has had a long recording career with many influential artists, much of it on Blue Note, and sessions like Midnight Blue, are considered to be major guitar work, creating much of the language and groove for modern guitar players. His accuracy and relaxed, sense of swing are legendary.

Kenny began teaching at UCLA in 1976. In 2004, Burrell was named Jazz Educator of the Year. In 1998, Burrell wrote, arranged and performed on DeeDee Bridgewater’s, Dear Ella release which won a Grammy. In 2005, he became an NEA Jazz Master. At 84 years of age, Burrell continues to record and perform. In 2015, he released his latest CD on Highnote Records called, The Road to Love.