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Kenny Stahl: News

All Music Guide biography - May 17, 2010

Kenny Stahl - Genre: JAZZ

At one time, jazz flutist Kenny Stahl thought he would earn his livelihood as a classical musician. With two performance degrees to his credit, one from the University of Nevada and the other from the University of Alabama, as well as graduate credits earned at the former school, he went on to earn his paycheck as principal flute player in symphony orchestras in Reno and Miami. A symphony audition in Seattle, however, nixed any further career moves in a classical direction. After flying there, he discovered that he was one of almost 1000 flutists who were applying for a single spot. That's when he realized there had to be a less difficult way to make his mark as a musician. Stahl headed to Monterey, where the Hyatt Hotel offered him a paying job to play his flute.

Born in Chicago, IL, Stahl spent his youth there playing saxophone. By the time he was 14, he was part of a band that was good enough to win a local competition. For their prize, bandmembers got to open a show for Motown girl group the Marvelettes, who scored big in 1961 with a single titled "Please Mr. Postman." Four years later, Stahl entered the service, where he devoted his time to the Army's 82nd Airborne Division Band. Upon his release, he enrolled in the University of Alabama.

Stahl played the Mobile Jazz Festival in 1970. During this period, he also spent time on tour with Stevie Wonder, playing the college circuit throughout the south. Over the next few years he performed with Jaco Pastorius, an electric bassist, and Ira Sullivan, a saxophone and trumpet player, as well as serving a stint with the symphony orchestra in Miami. He ended up in Nevada, partnered with John Bernard, a drummer without whom he refused to accept gigs. While in Nevada, Stahl received his second performance degree while playing with a five-man ensemble that frequently backed main acts in Reno, including Cal Tjader.

The flutist credits Helcio Melito and Weber Iago, aka Weber Drummond, with turning him on to the rich rhythms of Brazilian music. They gifted Stahl with a book of songs the Brazilians call chorinhos, and he was so energized by them that he spent hours learning them. He has since incorporated the Brazilian sound into much of his music and has performed frequently with Melita and Iago. In addition to his own CDs , Stahl's Brazilian-influenced sound can be heard on a pair of Latin jazz recordings by Jeff Linsky. One of the Concord releases also includes a performance by singer Claudia Villela.

Stahl took the Monterey Jazz Festival stage as a leader a single time, but he played there an additional handful of times. Among his other noted performances are appearances at the Great American Music Hall and the Kuumbwa Jazz Center. In addition, he has performed or recorded with such artists as Diana Krall, Lee Greenwood, Paul Horn, Pierre Bensusan, Roger Glenn, and Richie Cole, among others. Linda Seida, All Music Guide

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