Kenny Butler

Kenny Butler

BandJazzAcoustic

Kenny Butler is one of the few jazz improvisational violinists and composers active in the world today. His performance is a unique experience that accesses the traditions of the last four centuries of western classical music, 20th century jazz and the Celtic folk traditions of the British Isles.

Biography

Kenny Butler is one of the few jazz improvisational violinists and
composers active in the world today. To see him perform is to
experience something unique and rare, and to witness a shining example
of technical and improvisational virtuosity. With a repertoire that
encompasses the traditions of the last four centuries of western
classical music, 20th century jazz and the Celtic folk traditions of
the British Isles, Kenny is an explorer, leading his audience on
exciting, surprising musical adventures. His engaging personality
paves the way for effortless interaction with his audience through
story-telling and easy humor.

While he plays an acoustic violin, Kenny pushes the boundaries of a
traditional solo instrumentalist by employing computer technology and
layered recordings (his own) to enhance and enrich the live musical
experience for his listeners. The result is an emotional, artistic
ride of a show, replete with a wide range of musical genres–from
renaissance to jazz, Celtic to Americana, etc.

Kenny has been a founder and member of several performing groups and
has played for numerous symphonies and theater pit orchestras
throughout the Northeast. His music has been heard in film,
television, radio and several recordings, including two PBS
travelogues.

In addition to violin, Kenny also plays the guitar and mandolin
professionally, and is an accomplished composer and teacher. He
considers original music to be an integral part of his own
performance, and has composed extensively for live theater. Kenny
wrote, produced and performed an educational show for children
entitled, Paganini's Bouncing Bow, which has proved to be a great
success at schools throughout New England.

ARTIST STATEMENT:

My fascination with the violin began more than 35 years ago. As a
child, I watched the 1939 movie, They Shall Have Music, featuring
Jascha Heifetz, who is considered by many to be the greatest violinist
of the 20th century. This was the first time the violin impacted my
life. The way Heifetz played in that movie and the sound that came
from his violin had a profound and lasting affect on me. There was
purity in his playing, and it seemed effortless. At the same time it
passionately expressed all the emotions that I was feeling. I didn't
know music like that existed. It made me want to play--I needed to
make those same sounds. Heifetz conveyed emotion through music and I
wanted to do the same for others.

I eventually studied under a student of Jascha Heifetz. I did not want
to be a replicate of Heifetz, and strove instead to create my own
voice. Eventually, Jazz came calling and it's been my primary vehicle
of expression since. I've studied and worked hard to understand a
range of great musicians and improvisers, among them Stephane
Grappelli, Charlie Parker and John Coltrane, Paganini, Eric Dolphy,
Jimi Hendrix, Dizzy Gillespie and Rev. Gary Davis to name just a few.
This has allowed me to express myself in ways I never thought possible
when I began playing as a child. These influences are apparent in my
music making, but having found my own authentic voice, they don't
dominate it.

As a performer and composer, I love to create music that invokes an
emotional response and inspires people to smile and dance while we
share the artistic process.

Discography

"Enough Said" - Solo Recording
"Music of the British Isles" - with Peter Blanchette
"Dinner On the Diner" PBS soundtrack
"Inside the Tuscan Hills" PBS soundtrack
Appearances on various recordings.

Set List

This is one set of many songs and tunes from a large and varied repertoire:
A Medley of Renaissance Songs.
Douce Ambience
Blues Minor
Take 5
Limehouse Blues
All of Me
Air from County Derry
Swing 39
In Walked Bud
Original Tune
Scottish Tune Medley
Well You Needn’t
All Blues
Sweet Georgia Brown
It Don’t Mean A Thing
Minor Swing
Daphne
After You’ve Gone
Lady Be Good
Honeysuckle Rose
Milestones
Gypsy Swing