Kevin Bales on piano means solid jazz music. He plays this evening at Atlanta's High Museum as part of the Friday Jazz At The High series, hosted by WCLK's Jamal Ahmad. The event kicks off at 5:00pm and goes until 10pm and is your perfect excuse to sit out the traffic jam, dig some jazz, and take in the High's current and permanent art exhibits, including Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney. Kevin stopped by WCLK this week to chat with Jamal about Friday Jazz at the High and what he's been working on musically.
If you would like to attend Friday Jazz at the High Museum, click here for more information.
When Kevin Bales discovered jazz at age seventeen, he was already an accomplished pianist and had been invited to audition for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra at age sixteen. But when he encountered and became captivated by the sounds and structures of jazz he wasted no time in immersing himself in the music, declaring total commitment to what would be his life’s work.
Kevin left a designated career in computer programming for the University of North Florida's budding jazz program. There he met and performed with – and went on to record and tour with – a number of monumental artists, including Wynton Marsalis, Louie Bellson, Eddie Daniels, James Moody, Ben Tucker, Ira Sullivan, Sam Rivers, and Nat Adderley. He counts among his mentors bassist Ben Tucker, multi-instrumentalist Ira Sullivan, guitar legends Nathen Page and Jack Petersen, and saxophonist Bunky Green, his meeting with whom led to five years of tours. His encounter with guitarist Nathen Page blossomed into fifteen years of spot tours and four albums.
Kevin has amassed a long list of awards and a reputation as one of the finest jazz pianists performing anywhere. In 1994, less than a decade into jazz, he won the American Pianist Association’s Jazz Piano Competition. In addition to nearly every important jazz venue in the South, he has performed in some of the most acclaimed clubs and festivals in the United States and around the world. His list of recordings is similarly extensive, including his own first album, The First Day, and recent titles with recording artist Rene Marie, with whom he also currently tours.