Jazz is a layered language of musicality and instrumental diversity that draws from the depths of human emotion. Kenyon Carter is one musician who finds his deepest inspiration there. A critically-acclaimed jazz saxophonist and recording artist, Kenyon’s melodic compositions and engaging live performances have earned him wide repute. His style has been said to strike the perfect balance of smooth grooves and jagged edge, entertaining the masses while also capturing the attention of music aficionados.
Kenyon’s influences come from both smooth and straight ahead jazz giants like Grover Washington Jr., Gerald Albright, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley, as well as the iconic pop, rock and funk sounds of Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan, Michael Jackson and Prince. He shares: “Groove and melody are the king and queen of my musical world. I try to write music that feels good and leaves the listener with a memorable melody that is also seasoned with the language of the jazz tradition.”
Game On, Kenyon’s soon-to-be-released third album, is the next chapter in his catalog of chart-topping collections. Written and produced by Kenyon, the album hits digital shelves on August 14th and features 10 tantalizing tracks of contemporary jazz.
“Game On is the product of the melding of my love of groove based melodic music and my favorite parts of the straight-ahead jazz tradition,” says Kenyon. “This album is an effort of my full working band and a result of some of my favorite musicians’ rendering of my songs. I am extremely proud of this project – it is the culmination of all that I have learned as a saxophonist, composer, producer and musician in general.”
This newest album follows on the heels of Songs For My Father, Kenyon’s 2014 release dedicated to the memory of his recently-deceased father, which debuted at #4 on iTunes’ top jazz album chart and features jazz arrangements of old gospel hymns. J. Scott Fugate of Soulandjazz.com reviewed the work: “Kenyon Carter has shined his creative light on one of the foundational aspects of jazz in his new release. This album is a rich, relaxing and spiritual experience that will warm your soul.”
Born in South Georgia, Kenyon picked up his first saxophone at 13, and was already playing professional gigs in high school. He earned dual Bachelor’s degrees in Jazz Performance and Music Education from Valdosta State, and later went on to complete a Master’s degree in Jazz Studies at Georgia State University. He spent eight years as a middle and high school band director, and taught jazz saxophone at the college level as well, all before making the decision to become a full-time performer and recording artist.
Kenyon’s decision was influenced by a life-altering car accident in 2004. The wreck resulted in a severely broken right arm with extensive nerve damage that threatened to end his musical career. Though doctors were unsure if he would ever play again, Kenyon spent the next eight months tirelessly working to regain the ability to make the music he loved.
Feeling as if he’d been given a second chance, he decided to pursue his passion full-time with newfound clarity. Kenyon released his debut album, Right By My Side, in 2011, which featured three charting singles. He shares: “I once heard someone talk about their recording projects as ‘snapshots’ in time. My first album was written as I was falling in love with my wife and the second was a tribute to my late father.”
Today, Kenyon lives in Atlanta with the love of his life, Christine, and keeps an active calendar of live performances and studio projects. He is excited about the future: “Game On is the next snapshot in my life, a decision to really go for it musically and hold nothing back.” Songs for My Father and Right By My Side are available at iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby and directly from www.kenyoncarter.com.