Artist Details

Kenny Burrell

One of the leading exponents of straight-ahead jazz guitar, Kenny Burrell is a highly influential artist whose understated and melodic style, grounded in bebop and blues, made him in an in-demand sideman from the mid-'50s onward and a standard by which many jazz guitarists gauge themselves to this day. Born in Detroit in 1931, Burrell grew up in a musical family in which his mother played piano and sang in the Second Baptist Church choir and his father favored the banjo and ukulele. Burrell began playing guitar at age 12 and quickly fell under the influence of such artists as Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt, Oscar Moore, T-Bone Walker, and Muddy Waters. Surrounded by the vibrant jazz and blues scene of Detroit, Burrell began to play gigs around town and counted among his friends and bandmates pianist Tommy Flanagan, saxophonists Pepper Adams and Yusef Lateef, drummer Elvin Jones, and others.