Collector’s Corner

Kenny Drew's Hard Bop


I could get lost for hours in Concord's digital out of print section. Thanks to modern technology and Concord's commitment to keeping jazz alive, it's never too late to unearth rare treasures. Pianist Kenny Drew is one of those treasures and a compilation of his work, Trio/Quartet/Quintet, is a glimpse back to the '50s-era hard bop scene.

Born in 1928, Drew worked as a sideman to jazz luminaries Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker, Milt Jackson and John Coltrane, and was the go-to accompanist for hip female singers like Dinah Washington. In 1961, he moved to Paris, finally settling in Copenhagen where he would spend the rest of his life. Although his absence dimmed his star stateside, he was renowned in Europe and Japan to the end of his days.

The sides are a mix of originals and standards, their normally medium tempos dialed up to hot. Drew's playing style is a combination of rich chordal work interspersed with blistering bop lines reminiscent of his friend, Bud Powell. Trumpeter Donald Byrd appears on several cuts along with two sets of sidemen, one being the legendary Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones.

in this playlist.