Campus News


NEA Jazz Master, Pianist Kenny Barron, Performs with Quintet

NEA Jazz Master, Pianist Kenny Barron, Performs with Quintet at Soka Performing Arts Center


Aliso Viejo, CA The Kenny Barron Quintet performs at Soka Performing Arts Center on Friday, February 9, 2018, at 8:00 p.m. as part of the Jazz Monsters Series. Tickets are $40 for adults; $32 for students, seniors, and active military families; and $29 each for groups of 10 or more. Purchase tickets online at or by calling 949-480-4ART (4278).

Honored by the National Endowment for the Arts as a 2010 Jazz Master, Barron has an unmatched ability to mesmerize audiences with his elegant playing, sensitive melodies, and infectious rhythms. The Los Angeles Times named him “one of the top jazz pianists in the world,” and Jazz Weekly calls him “the most lyrical piano player of our time.” The quintet is Barron on piano, Mike Rodriguez on trumpet, Dayna Stephens on saxophone, Kiyoshi Kitagawa on bass, and Johnathan Blake on drums.

Barron’s recordings have earned him nine Grammy nominations since 1992. He is a six-time recipient of Best Pianist by the Jazz Journalists Association and was inducted into the American Jazz Hall of Fame by the New Jersey Jazz Society. In 2013 Barron was awarded an honorary doctorate from his alma mater SUNY Empire State and from Berklee College of Music in 2011. He has taught at Rutgers University and the Julliard School. Over the years he has performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Buster Williams, Stan Getz, and Buddy Rich, among others.

Rodriguez currently teaches at New York University and co-leads a group with his brother, pianist Robert Rodriguez. Their most recent recording, Impromptu, was nominated for a Grammy in 2016. Recent recipient of the number-two spot for the 2017 DownBeat Critics Poll in the category Rising Star: Tenor Saxophone, Stephens has garnered critical acclaim over the years for his playing, compositions, and arrangements. Kitagawa is also a composer and has worked with many of the leading names in jazz, such as Jimmy Heath, Andy Bey, Tommy Flanagan, Ben Riley, Victor Lewis, and Terell Staford. Blake was recognized in 2006 with an ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award and helped the Mingus Big Band land Grammy nominations for the albums Tonight at Noon (2002) and I Am Three (2005).