Arts + Culture

A legendary night of jazz at concert honoring UCLA’s Kenny Burrell

The guitar great celebrated his 85th birthday with a concert that raised money for an endowed chair in his name

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Kenny Burrell
Damian Tsutsumida

Kenny Burrell opened the concert with an arrangement of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1958 show tune, “My Favorite Things.”

Nearly 1,000 people headed to Royce Hall Saturday night to celebrate UCLA jazz legend Kenny Burrell at his 85th birthday concert.

The concert featured new original works by Burrell, distinguished professor and director of jazz studies at UCLA, and also a new work by composer Lalo Schifrin that was performed by the Los Angeles Jazz Orchestra Unlimited. The UCLA Philharmonia under the direction of conductor Neal Stulberg presented the West Coast Premiere of Burrell’s “The Love Suite.”

The “Kenny Burrell 85: Artist, Legend, Legacy” concert also included Burrell’s tribute to Billie Holiday, the great American jazz musician and singer-songwriter.

In addition to celebrating Burrell, the concert raised money for the new Kenny Burrell Chair in Jazz Studies at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. The Herb Alpert Foundation has given the lead gift of $500,000 toward establishing this chair, which will provide resources for student scholarships, faculty programs and performances in jazz studies. The goal is to raise $1 million total. Those who would like to support the Kenny Burrell Chair in Jazz Studies can give here.

The money raised is part of the $4.2 billion UCLA Centennial Campaign, which is scheduled to conclude in December 2019 during UCLA’s 100th anniversary year.

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