Kenny Carr

Guitarist and composer, Kenny Carr, began playing violin at age nine, but at age eleven, he realized his true passion was the guitar. Growing up in Santa Cruz with its inspiring natural beauty set the stage for Kenny’s musical career. It seemed everyone in his small California beach town loved jazz. By his early teens, he was studying jazz theory with vibraphonist Rob Lautz, in addition to renowned trumpeter Ray Brown was an integral part of Kenny’s studies and style, most importantly his ability to phrase like a horn player, which is still a cornerstone platform to Kenny’s successful sound. Growing up in Santa Cruz, California, he found himself surrounded by talented and aspiring musicians, who became his closest friends. By age sixteen, he was performing at local venues where he met drummer Kenny Wollesen and bassist Anders Swanson, as well as 2004, 2013 and 2015 Grammy nominated saxophonist Donny McCaslin. In 1981, Kenny and his fellow Santa Cruz musicians were invited to open up for Carmen McRae and Freddie Hubbard at the Mount Tamalpais jazz festival, which was a catapult for these young musicians inspirationally and musically.

After high school, Carr attended Berklee College of Music, in Boston. During his final year in 1986, he received the call to audition for Ray Charles, this was a turning point for Carr and the beginning of his longtime sideman career with Charles. “I remember running onto the stage as Mr. Charles instructed me to play the blues,” Carr explains. Carr had the esteemed pleasure of touring worldwide with Ray Charles as his guitarist for over ten years. Carr himself has enjoyed a fruitful career since Charles passing, with a discography of titles including:Friday at Five (2005), Turn the Page (2006), Changing Tide(2007), Idle Talk(2015 first quarter) and his impending release Exit Moon (last quarter 2015), and set to release the Fall/Winter of 2015.  Exit Moonis a gritty, full-throttle fusion experience with jazz/rock underpinning filled with new sonic dimensions for Carr’s ever growing catalog of leader releases.