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Singer Kenny Washington Shares His Jazz Secrets

Kenny Washington in the KNKX Public Radio Studios
Parker Miles Blohm
Kenny Washington in the KNKX Studios.

It's not a well-kept secret, at least in the Bay Area where he's been called the "Superman" of their jazz scene, but Kenny Washington's incredible vocal talents are just starting to get noticed. When he performed live in our studios, it was easy to see he's more comfortable as Clark Kent than the Man of Steel.

Kenny Washington was raised in America's jazz and party capital of New Orleans, but his father kept him away from the wild atmosphere of the French Quarter. His early musical training was in the gospel church, and he only picked up on jazz in his late teens.

A few years singing in the Navy Jazz Band led Washington to the San Francisco area, where he's been a favorite for the past couple of decades. Despite that popularity, he's kept a low profile, overshadowed by the famous New York jazz drummer of the same name.

After a few house concerts in our area, Washington made his Seattle club debut at the Royal Room recently with his friend, saxophonist Anton Schwartz and a fine PNW backing trio. Despite Kenny's unnecessary modesty, they thrilled our appreciative studio audience.

In the middle of one song, Anton Schwartz urged him to improvise a scatting solo, but Washington demurred. It's rare to see shyness from such an obvious talent (incredibly smooth across four octaves!), but the bright spotlight of fame may be around the corner.

Kenny Washington told us that his first studio album is currently in the works, though a release date is still undetermined. Our audience agrees we'll be in the front of the line when it's finally here. In the meantime, we know you'll enjoy these exclusive performances from the KNKX studio.

Studio Sessions Live Studio Sessions
Abe grew up in Western Washington, a 3rd generation Seattle/Tacoma kid. It was as a student at Pacific Lutheran University that Abe landed his first job at KNKX, editing and producing audio for news stories. It was a Christmas Day shift no one else wanted that gave Abe his first on-air experience which led to overnights, then Saturday afternoons, and started hosting Evening Jazz in 1998.
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