Head of Jazz at the Royal Academy of Music, Nick Smart, pays tribute to trumpeter Kenny Wheeler
Trumpeter and educator Nick Smart, Head of Jazz at the Royal Academy Of Music, has released a fitting tribute to colleague and 'genius' Kenny Wheeler. Nick writes:
“It was with great sadness that we learned today of the passing of Kenny Wheeler, the great jazz trumpet player and composer.
It is hard to express just how large a contribution he made to the music in this country and around the world, and how deeply he touched the musicians that had the honour of working alongside him. Kenny was an important and much loved figure to the jazz department here at the Academy. He was the founding patron of our Junior Jazz programme and the subject of a year-long exhibition about his life and work. We are extremely proud to hold the archive of his manuscripts and every year award the significant Kenny Wheeler prize, inaugurated after the unforgettable evening in the Duke’s Hall celebrating his 80th Birthday.
With Kenny’s passing we say goodbye to one of the great musical innovators of contemporary Jazz. His harmonic palette and singularly recognisable sound will live on in the memory of all who heard him and in the extraordinary legacy of recordings and compositions he leaves behind, inspiring generations to come. Famously self deprecating, Kenny was always modest and humble about his own musical achievements. But the truth is, he was a genius walking amongst us, and it was the most tremendous privilege to have been able to consider him a dear colleague and friend."
Head of Jazz, Royal Academy of Music