His latest CD, The Winding Path, is his most expansive effort to date. The album features ten tracks that demonstrate the depth and breadth of Kevin's talents as a composer and a performer.
Kern is joined by old friends Jeremy Cohen on violin and Jeff Linsky on guitar, each contributing their own special magic to the music. In addition, Kevin welcomes fellow Real Music artists Pamela and Randy Copus of 2002 to join the musical conversation on the new recording.
Finally, the understated percussion of David Earl adds a new and refreshing hint of propulsion to the lyrical sound that has been Kevin's trademark for nearly a decade.
"The Touch of Love," which opens the album, and "Through the Veil," exemplify this new and exciting element in Kern's music. "I wanted to write music that would satisfy the listener whether in the audience or at home. I also wanted music that would lift one's spirit."
There has always been a special bond between Kevin and the piano. Nowhere is this more evident than in the centerpiece of The Winding Path, a completely improvised piano solo entitled, "A Million Stars." The song resulted from a suggestion that Kevin "play the sky."
"As soon as I heard that, I asked that the lights in the recording room be turned off so I could completely immerse myself in the piano and the space," recalls Kern. "From the very first notes on that magnificent Steinway, the ideas just started flowing. First, there was the image of a night filled with stars. Then, there was one single constellation and finally the full night sky again."
The bond between Kevin and the piano continued to grow as he brought forth three more compositions from this most memorable instrument: "Ancient Guardians," "Filled With Light" and "Softly Falling." By the time the album was finished, Kevin felt he had been blessed with God's own piano.
ABOUT KEVIN KERN
Born in Detroit, Kevin Kern began playing piano at the tender age of 18 months. Though legally blind since birth, his exceptional talent soon became clear. His earliest musical influence was jazz legend George Shearing, whom he met as a child. With George as a mentor, Kevin developed an early love of improvisation and an appreciation for the beautiful sound a piano could produce. In addition to Shearing's contribution, he received an extensive classical education. From these experiences, Kevin developed his trademark sound where melodies exude lyricism, simplicity, and a directness that touches the heart of the listener.
In 1993, a chance encounter with Terence Yallop, President of Real Music began a collaboration, which, has resulted in six albums of original music and one collection of Kevin's most popular songs thus far.
Beginning with his phenomenally successful debut album, In the Enchanted Garden, in 1996, which appeared on the Billboard charts for 26 weeks, Kevin has developed his own unique musical voice. At the center of this style, is a process that has come to be known as "sound-painting."
"Though my vision lacks the crisp detail that others may have, I have learned to describe what I see through my music", says Kevin. "It is something that has always come naturally to me, and I've done it all my life. Whether describing a baseball game to my father when I was a child or playing a night filled with stars (as on The Winding Path), it's all part of that special relationship I feel with the piano."
Kevin's follow-up CD, Beyond the Sundial, featured pieces for legendary oboist Paul McCandless of the group Oregon. "I had admired Paul's work for well over twenty years. Getting the chance to write music specifically for the greatest oboist in the world was a singular thrill that I will never forget."
1998's release, Summer Daydreams, showed Kevin's cinematic side.
"Le Jardin" and "Return to Love" gave us the achingly beautiful violin of Jeremy Cohen and the haunting clarinet of Louis Baez. These songs, which were used in the popular Korean drama series, "Autumn in My Heart" (Gaeul Donghwa), introduced Kevin to Asian audiences, where his popularity continues to grow.
In My Life, Kevin's fourth CD, is like a musical scrapbook of fond childhood memories. The Beatles classic that became the title track was dedicated to Kern's oldest brother, Bill, with whom he learned the music of the Fab Four as a child. The ballad, which symbolizes the bond one has between family and friends, is the signature element of his live shows.
In 2001, Kern released Embracing the Wind, displaying an ever-widening musical palette. The opening track, "Blossom on the Wind," was inspired by the sound of Tibetan singing bowls, a sound Kevin had never heard before. "From This Day Forward," was a wedding present from Kevin to his wife, Pam, and was used as part of their wedding on Maui in 2001.
Kevin's music has appeared in film and television both in the U.S. and abroad. In addition to the Korean drama series, "Autumn in My Heart" (Gaeul Donghwa), his music has been heard as part of the "2000 Summer Olympics," "Live! With Regis and Kathy Lee" (and Kelly, too!), "Oprah," NPR, PBS, and in commercials for Mitsubishi and Blue Shield of California, among others.
Check out the artist's website:
1. The Touch of Love
2. The Way of the Streams
3. A Million Stars
4. High Above the Valley
5. Ancient Gaurdians
6. Cauldron of Healing
7. Filled with Light
8. Through the Veil
9. Softly Falling
10. The Winding Path