Dave McKenna-Piano
dave mckenna

Dave McKenna was born 30th of May 1930 in Woonsocket, RI. He was essentially a solo piano performer who favored the intimate club environment for his three handed swing style, which made the piano sound like a small combo. Adding right thumb and first finger action to the left hand, he was able to replicate bass and guitar strums ahead of the beat and still play close to the melody behind the tempo with the remaining right hand fingers.

He would often play the head twice gathering in intensity then launch into the improvisation reaching low into the piano register for a stand-up base line, use left and right hand to cover mid-range chords and carried the jazz improvisation with the right hand. He played stride in traditional two-beat but also managed a similar four-beat version, breaking it by playing the base note slightly early.

With all that going on, McKenna still managed great clarity through respect for the melody.

Dave McKenna was a big man who dominated the piano, his mastery of varying tempo and intensity separated the three lines of music he was playing, giving the impression of a combo under one piano lid.

A life-long Boston Red Sox fan, Dave McKenna passed 18th October 2008 leaving a legacy of a whole new level of solo technical and musical excellence. He was a self deprecating man, admired by his peers including the great Art Tatum.

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