Elvin Jones, Carla Bley, Dizzy Gillespie, Jeff Watts, Charles Fambrough, Chico Freeman, the Marsalis brothers, Angela Bofill, Youssou N’Dour, Sting, Kenny Garrett, … the list goes on and on. the quality and variety of the above artists, all of who were associated professionally with Kirkland is a testament to his versatility and talent. Kenny Kirkland is primarily known as a piano icon of the 90’s acoustic jazz resurgence and for his (not suprising, given his eclectic background) detour into more commercial ventures, alongside Branford Marsalis, with Sting, and his short lived tenure on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. Tragically, he left this world at the age of 43. his influence on pianists of the generation following him is pervasive- the strong, clean right hand lines bolstered by a highly rhythmic, jabbing left create an energetic and complex improvisational style. the transcription of Wayne Shorter’s “Black Nile” is from a record called Thunder And Rainbows, a trio recording featuring Jeff “Tain” Watts and Charles Fambrough, recorded in 1991. the three musicians combine to create an unabashed, joyous swing, and Kirkland’s solo is a study in pacing and invention. i call this post “Five Fingers Of Fury” because i’ve only written out the right hand lines. i’ll change the post to “Ten Fingers …” as soon i can transcribe the left hand part… enjoy.
Five Fingers Of Fury, Kenny Kirkland “Black Nile”
October 14, 2019