Skip to page content

Kenny Burrell

About this Artist

Guitarist KENNY BURRELL grew up in a musical family and began playing guitar at the age of 12. Burrell’s playing is in the bop style, favoring simple, often singable, melodic lines rather than flights of virtuosity. In 1951, while in college, he worked for a month with Dizzy Gillespie’s sextet, making his recording debut. After graduating, he toured with Oscar Peterson. Burrell moved to New York in 1956 and soon began performing and recording with many famous players, establishing his reputation as an outstanding guitarist. As well as making between 30 and 40 recordings as a leader, he has played as a sideman on about 200 albums, recording in many styles with John Coltrane, Gil Evans, Stan Getz, Billie Holiday, Milt Jackson, Quincy Jones, Herbie Mann, Sonny Rollins, Jimmy Smith, and Stanley Turrentine. In addition to performing and recording, he is active in jazz education, including teaching a popular UCLA class on the music of Duke Ellington, as well as chairing the jazz program there.