In the ranks of mainstream jazz musicians, Kenny Barron is solidly A-list. The Philadelphia-born pianist, who opens Da Camera's 2008-2009 jazz series today, is also a composer and arranger. He hit the national scene in the '60s when he joined the Dizzy Gillespie Quartet. Later, Barron played alongside Yusef Lateef, Ron Carter, Stanley Turrentine and Freddie Hubbard. He's appeared on literally hundreds of recordings as a sideman (even he's lost count). In 1980, he co-founded Sphere, the first of several trios he's helmed. Over the years, he's earned nine Grammy nominations and has recorded more than 40 albums as a bandleader, including New York Attitude, Wanton Spirit and People Time, a collaboration with saxophonist Stan Getz.
Barron has just released his latest CD, The Traveler. (It's been called his "most personal, most accomplished record ever released.") Today he'll be joined onstage by his Traveler sidemen, Japanese bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa and Cuban drummer Francisco Mela. Whether he's playing mournful ballads, sensitive love songs or verve-infused classics, Barron has proved that when he's at the keyboard, the ivories are always in the hands of a master. 8 p.m. Wortham Theater Center, 500 Texas. For information, call 713-524-5050 or visit www.dacamera.com. $30 to $50.
Sat., Oct. 25, 8 p.m., 2008