Kenny Kirkland

Kenneth David Kirkland (September 28, 1955 – November 12, 1998) was an American pianist and keyboardist.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, United States, Kirkland was six when he first sat down at a piano keyboard. After years of Catholic schooling, Kirkland enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied classical piano performance, classical theory and composition. Kirkland’s first professional work came with Polish fusion violinist Michal Urbaniak, touring throughout Europe with his group in 1977. Coincidentally, his next high-profile gig was with another Eastern European jazz émigré, Miroslav Vitous. Kirkland is featured on Vitous’ ECM recordings First Meeting and Miroslav Vitous Group. Kirkland was found dead in his Queens apartment on Friday, November 13, 1998. The official doctor’s report listed his death as due to congestive heart failure. He was survived by his mother, brother and two sisters.


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