How To Play Like Kenny Kirkland

In this thread we explore the style of Kenny Kirkland.

Kenny_Kirkland 164afc5b507376c412b3f68b29f95

Kenny Kirkland Biography:

Download Full Biography: Kenny Kirkland Biography.pdf (16.8 KB)

When it comes to the important pianists/keyboardists of the later part of 20th century, Kenny Kirkland is one that comes quickly in mind. Although his career was cut short by his early passing, he can be considered as one of the few 80’s-90’s pianists who left a mark in jazz history, and shaped the post-bop jazz language into a new, modern direction.

Important Discography To Start With:

Download full suggested discography: Kenny Kirkland - Suggested Discography.pdf (16.2 KB)

  • Kenny Kirkland - Branford Marsalis (sax), Jeff “Tain” Watts (dr), Steve Berrios (dr), Don Alias (perc), Jerry Gonzales (perc), Roderick Ward (sax), Andy Gonzalez (b), Charnett Moffett (b), Christian McBride (b) 1991
    Spotify Link Here
  • Sting - The Dream Of The Blue Turtles 1985
    Spotify Link Here
  • Branford Marsalis - Random Abstract 1988
    Spotify Link Here
  • Kenny Garrett - Songbook 1997
    Spotify Link Here

What Do These Exercises Cover?

  • Exercises on this thread are built to give the students a deeper view on Kenny Kirkland’s style, soloing, comping as well as an overall look into the tradition of jazz through his artistry.
  • Exercises are transcription-based, following with a closer look into certain details of his playing. This way we can combine ear-training with learning the language of jazz, as well as analyzing closely what is happening.

Transcription Exercise No. 1

I Thought About You - Album: Branford Marsalis - Random Abstract

This transcription exercise covers the piano solo of ‘I Thought About You’, starting at 02:32.

Click here for the start of the solo

The Assignment:

Transcribe the missing parts of the following transcription:

I Thought About You - Transcription Exercise.pdf (51.5 KB)

I Thought About You - Transcription Exercise.mscz (23.8 KB)

  • Right hand : transcribe the missing parts
  • Left Hand : extra assignment - transcribe the missing 2 bars, exact voicings preferred

The full transcription will be posted in 2 weeks with supporting material and an analysis of the solo as well as details about what we can learn from the solo, and how to practice with it.

If you have any questions with the exercise, post them in this thread.

Have fun!


Full Transcription & Selected Analysis No. 1

I Thought About You - Album: Branford Marsalis - Random Abstract

Click here for the start of the solo

Here is the transcription of the piano solo:

I Thought About You - Transcription.pdf (58.6 KB)

I Thought About You - Transcription.mscz (29.2 KB)

And here a selected analysis:

I Thought About You Analysis.pdf (346.5 KB)

If you have questions, comments or ideas, please write them to the thread,