Kenny Barron has been playing piano out there for two-thirds of his life. This son of Philadelphia began work barely out of high school, partly through his late brother Bill's solicitude. kenny played with homeboy Jimmy Heath and Dizzy Gillespie in his teens, Yusef Lateef and Ron Carter in his thirties, sax-man Bill often. He's also co-founded the Monk-band Sphere and duetted prettily with romantic soul-mate Stan Getz.
Nevertheless, opportunities to attack the keyboard all alone are rare. Flying solo challenges a pianist: "It's difficult for me," admits Barron; "this is only my third solo album." Barron approached this recital as a chance to expatiate on personal history; he plays jazz etudes, pieces which focus on specific aspects of the music. Some glance back to acknowledged influences (Art Tatum, T. Monk, and Bud Powell), some explore his present trends. The excursion exposes Barron's deep roots in bebop and flourishing Hispanic traces, and establishes a tenuous balance between relaxation and tension.
Of his Maybeck experience, Barron remarks, "It's a great place to play, a great space. Comfortable and intimate. The audience was very receptive; I'd met many of them when I'd visit San Francisco with Ron and Yusef."