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Kenny Shanker is a saxophonist, pianist, vocalist, and award-winning composer. He grew up in Pleasanton, CA and began playing piano when he was two years old. Of Kenny, Grammy Award-winning producer, Jeff Jones has said that “he taps into a universal soul with his playing. . . . With fluidity and ease, he can capture the heart and mind of the many. He is a classic.”

Kenny won an ASCAP award for composition, and wrote music for the soundtrack of the independent film, Out of the Fog. His first album, Steppin’ Up, is due to be released on September 6, 2011. Todd Barkan, Programming Director at Jazz at Lincoln Center, hailed it as “a masterful recording with a tremendous amount of heart and soul,” and declared that “Kenny Shanker’s exceptional composition “Sarah” touches me deep inside more than any new song I have heard in some time.”

Kenny has performed with the New World Symphony, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, R&B singer, Shannon (“Let the Music Play”), David Benoit, Shelly Berg, and many others. He has also played the national anthem for the Oakland Raiders and the Golden State Warriors and toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe, South America, and Japan. Locally, he has performed at Carnegie Hall, Birdland, Smoke, The Garage, The Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center, and most recently, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.

He currently resides in New York City.

Outstanding Reviews for Steppin' Up

All About Jazz Review by Dan Blowsky, September 26, 2011

"Alto Saxophonist Kenny Shanker is proof that an artist's direction isn't always reflected in their tonal personality. Shanker possesses a sleek-and-sweet tone that has served him well on dates with big name ghost band, like the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, as well as smooth-leaning pianist David Benoit, but his own music operates outside of the "contemporary jazz" orbit."  Read More

From —Todd Barkan, Jazz at Lincoln Center, October, 2010

"Here is my poem for Kenny Shanker:

In the magic world where dreams go to dance
and passion and patience gladly embrace,
the swing and the soul join forces with grace,
Kenny Shanker is an important voice." Read More

Review by Jeff Jones, Grammy Award Winning Producer

"Long before I met him or listened to him play I had heard about Kenny Shanker from a friend who raved about his soulfulness and musicality. It’s a rare thing, a special thing to have a reputation precede a person’s arrival in your life. It says something about that person’s power, influence and talent. What was said about him turned out to be true." Read More

Jazz Blog: Ottawa Citizen
By Peter Hum, September 21, 2011

On his hard-hitting debut CD, alto saxophonist Kenny Shanker shows off a big, ripe sound that brings Kenny Garrett and Jan Garbarek to my mind at times. That sound is consistently put into service during persuasive, committed solos — Shanker has a lot of bop under his fingers (and some Garrett-style lines too) and has no problems revving up to top gear when he improvises. Read More