2015 NFA Jazz Flute Competition

The National Flute Association recently informed Dr. Powell that he won the 2015 NFA Jazz Flute Competition. He will perform in Washington, D.C. at the 43rd Annual National Flute Association Convention ” Out of Many, One” at Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel on August 15. Winner's Certificate

Kenny with THE QUEEN

Kenny willQueen of Soul, Aretha Franklin appear with the one and only “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Hall on Tuesday, April 21 at 7:30 P.M.

Aretha returns to Pittsburgh for her first appearance in over 13 years! Don’t miss an evening full of her greatest hits with one of music’s most legendary icons.

Kenny caught in the act at Fat Cat’s

Fat Cats Jazz & Blues Club is located on Deck 6 of Kenny on NCL EpicNorwegian Cruise Lines,  “Epic”.   This Club has a split personality featuring both jazz and the blues and a great reputation for consistent talent. By day, jam with the performers – at night, the professionals hit the stage.

It looks like Kenny has his sea legs.


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The Cannonball saxophone company recently added Dr. Powell on their website recognizing him as a distinguished educator who performs on Cannonball instruments.

PJO Holiday Celebration featuring Freddy Cole

PJO-121413Take a break from your busy holiday prep with The Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra Annual Holiday Celebration! The PJO returns to the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild for the first time with their annual holiday celebration. Artistic Director of the Orchestra, Sean Jones, says, “We want to try to recreate the spirit of what the holiday is all about.” This very popular concert spreads Christmas cheer and old favorites receive a jazz makeover, as the skilled musicians of the PJO render a new treatment on holiday classics, and turn the holiday season into a unique celebration of wonder, bliss and merriment the whole family will enjoy. With featured vocalist Freddy Cole, who The New York Times says, “has an impeccable sense of swing…he is, overall, the most maturely expressive male jazz singer of his generation, if not the best alive.”

Jazz in the Box featuring Kenny Powell

On October 10jazz-box_750x600, Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center presents Jazz in the Box featuring Kenny Powell and Red Velvet.


Jazz in the Box is a series of four jazz concerts that showcase the best of local jazz in the Center’s unique studio theater.   Different groups will bring their smooth and mellow jazz sounds for a terrific evening of entertainment.  Kenny’s performance is the second in the series.


Click here or on the Jazz in the Box image to see the full Poster with details.


Looking forward to seeing you!

Audience wins in Jazz intrastate rivalry

The New Pittsburgh Courier’s C. Denise Johnson reviews the February 18 performance.

With a double-bill headlining two Grammy winning jazz musicians, it goes without saying that in this rivalry, the winner would be those who had enough sense to be in the audience.

Fresh off of his Grammy Award for Big Band jefftainwattsJazz Performance, Christian McBride continued his winning ways by performing songs of his award-winning release, “The Good Feeling” and yes, that good feeling (and good music) wafted through the near capacity house at the August Wilson Center for another performance featuring the swinging Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra.

JEFF ‘TAIN’ WATTS (Photo by Gail Manker)

Ace bassist Christian McBride was clearly enjoying himself as he led the PJO through his arrangements and engaged in some brief banter introducing the selections. “Shake and Blake” was a nod to longtime musical co-hort Ron Blake (with a tasty passage by saxman Michael Tomaro) while the next tune, “Mister Brother” was a tribute to James Brown.

The highlight of McBride’s set had to be “Science Fiction” a homage to TV show themes (think “Twilight Zone” and “Outer Limits”) featuring an out-of-this-world flute solo by Kenneth Powell and Alton Merrill’s usual wizardly work on piano.

McBride brought out vocalist Melissa Walker to recreate the magic her contralto brought to two tracks from “The Good Feeling” CD on “A Taste of Honey” and “The More I See You,” before Jeff “Tain” Watts joined in on drums to trade bars with McBride on “In A Hurry.”

Following intermission, Pittsburgher Watts assumed the stage with the disarmingly cool he portrayed in the Spike Lee joint, “Mo Better Blues.” But once he picked up his sticks, the fire was stoked.

Watts paints pictures with his drum work, using the skins as his canvas and sticks and mallets as his brush. His opener, “The Impaler” was right to the point pushing a hard rhythm and Sean Jones used the same urgency with his trumpet solo.

“Blutain” was Tain’s interpretation of the blues with Powell adding a funky sax solo. “PAEN” is a recent composition that showcased the varied subtleties and textures that Watts brings out of his cymbals.

“Of August Moon,” a Watts composition dedicated to August Wilson, could serve as a Broadway overture to the Pittsburgh Cycle of plays with its bluesy swing and shifts in rhythms and melody with occasional hints of dissonance and melancholy.

Another unexpected pleasure was a haunting ballad, “May 15, 2011” (Watts readily admitted he couldn’t conjure an appropriate title), that featured the drummer on vocals. On this night he dedicated the song to Whitney Houston, whose homegoing was held earlier in the day.

Watts concluded his set and the evening by bringing McBride back to the stage to join him on “Return of the Jitney Man.” “There was already a song called Jitney Man,” Watts explain as he introduced this recollection of his father working out of the Bedford and Chauncey jitney station.

The Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra’s next performance will be in April, Jazz Appreciation Month.