Born in Kansas City and now based in the Pacific Northwest, veteran jazz saxophonist Kenney Polson is a true musical citizen of the world, having visited and/or performed in over 50 countries (including tours of Japan, Korea, Hawaii, France, Colombia, Brazil and the Caribbean) and developing a cosmopolitan style that fuses urban contemporary jazz, Latin, classical, New Age, R&B, funk, gospel and traditional jazz. The wild, bustling Carnival joy emanating from his horn and sizzling array of exotic grooves and international instruments on his latest album Colors of Brazil pay homage to the five formative (and he says, happiest!) years he spent living in the Ipanema neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. During this time of his life, he performed and recorded with some of the city’s most renowned musicians.
Some of Polson’s happiest and most formative years were spent in Rio de Janeiro. He lived in the neighborhood of Ipanema for five years, performing and recording with some of the city’s finest musicians. Marinho Boffa, trumpeter Paulinho Trompete, and the late composer and bassist Nico Assumpção were among them. Polson brought his own brand of jazz and funk to South America. His Brazilian colleagues contributed intoxicating styles such as samba, partido/alto, samba/funk and afoxé. The cultural exchange continued in the U.S. where he worked with Rio born bassist Leonardo Lucini and percussionist Alejandro Lucini and others to complete his Brazilian album.
His vision for Colors of Brazil was expansive. While wholeheartedly embracing a Brazilian theme, Polson invited international artists to expand the palette of sounds: guitar and African nGnoni were added by Leni Stern, harp from L.A.’s Mariea Antoinette and Japanese koto by Dr. Osamu Kitajima and Mitsuki Dazai. The project reflects Polson’s life journey and quest for new sounds. Writing in the album Liner Notes, journalist Raul da Gama says, “The imprint of flawless, superlative artistry is all over Polson’s 2021 album…a recording on par with the finest Brazilian recordings by titans of the saxophone…”, but the wild, bustling Carnival joy emanating from his horn and a sizzling array of exotic grooves and international instruments on COLORS OF BRAZIL pay homage to the five formative years he spent living and performing in the Ipanema neighborhood of Rio.
Alternating between the blast of excitement and romantic, balmy bossa nova, Polson’s deeper global vision as a well-traveled musical citizen of the world includes stellar guest performances by guitarist Leni Stern, harpist Mariea Antoinette and koto greats Osamu Kitajima and Mitsuki Dazai.
He has been to over 50 countries, spreading the gospel of jazz and collaborating with many musicians. Known widely as a smooth jazz artist, his seasoned musical style incorporates Latin, classical, New Age, rhythm & blues, funk and gospel influences – resting on a firm foundation of straight-ahead jazz.
He was fortunate to complete successful tours in France and Hawaii before 2020 pandemic travel restrictions set in, then turned his attention to completing a new album, Colors of Brazil, for release in early 2021.