Kenny Barron presents The Source, his first solo piano album in 40 years

NEA Jazz Master Kenny Barron has announced his new album The Source, his first solo piano release since 1981.

With this nine-track recording, the iconic pianist returns to four original compositions and five enduring standards (including classic tunes by Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and Billy Strayhorn), all of which Barron intends to serve as vessels of intimacy and vulnerability.

“One of the things I’m after when I’m playing is communicating on an emotional level,” says the 79-year-old musician. “A response of ‘Hmmm…’ is not what I’m after. ‘That was really interesting’ is not what I’m after. I want people to feel something.”

Throughout a 60-year career, Barron has recorded dozens of albums as a bandleader and many more as a sideman for Sheila Jordan, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Buddy Rich, Chet Baker, Elvin Jones, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, Ron Carter, Dianne Reeves and many more. He’s earned numerous accolades, including 12 Grammy nominations, an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music and an NEA Jazz Master fellowship. Even so, The Source finds Barron finally becoming more comfortable as a solo performer,

“Playing solo is still nerve-racking,” he says. “After the first song, it usually goes away. It’s the initial feeling of sitting down alone. You realize there’s no one else to cover you if you make a mistake. You’re out there by yourself. Which is okay. But it always takes a minute to realize that it’s okay.”

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Here’s the track listing:

  1. What If?
  2. Isfahan
  3. Teo
  4. Daydream
  5. I’m Confessin’
  6. Dolores Street SF
  7. Well You Needn’t
  8. Sunshower
  9. Phantoms

Kenny Barron’s The Source will be released Jan. 20, 2023, via Artwork Records.