(a.k.a. Keshavan Maslak)
Kenny Millions - musician & restaurateur - "whose biography reads like the outline for the great twentieth-century American picaresque novel... At his best, Kenny not only ties together the disparate threads of his life so far, but in his happy mingling of old traditions and new beginnings, of man and machine, of families and friends, of black and white, of rock and funk and new music and jazz, he unites the conflicting shrieks and whispers of American music and American life into one joyous roar, one barbaric yawp". (The Village Voice)
Kenny began his studies of music at the age of 6 in Detroit, Michigan where he was born. His grandfather, being a performer of Russian and Jewish folk songs, introduced him to the beauty of Eastern European folk and classical music. His first paid professional experiences were playing this ethnic folk music for the immigrant Slavic community of Detroit at the age of 12. Afterwards while attending Cass Tech High School in downtown Detroit, his Motown classmate friends indoctrinated him into the joys of Motown R&B and the mysteries of jazz and the blues.
During his studies at The University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University and North Texas State University, Kenny's major field of study was in musical composition. His principal teachers were Norman Glazer, Larry Teal and Donald Sinta in woodwind instruments and Martin Mailman in composition. Upon finishing his university studies, Kenny first moved to California in 1970 and shortly afterwards he moved to New York City in 1972, where he became one of the original pioneers of the New York "loft scene" of the 1970's.
Later in 1978 Kenny moved to Europe for 4 years where he further developed his international reputation. In 1982 he returned back to New York and in 1986 Kenny finally left New York for the inspirational lifestyle of Florida where he lives today.
Over his many years of experience,
Kenny has collaborated with many renowned artists:
The "original" Motown Artists, Lou Rawls, Chet Baker, Stan Getz, Paul Bley, Jon Hendriks, Dr. John, Alberta Adams, Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater, Mick Taylor, Steve Swallow, Larry Coryell, Sunny Murray, Charles Moffett, Sam Rivers, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Akikazu Nakamura, Tatsu Aoki, Otomo Yoshihide, Katsuyuki Itakura, Dr. Umezu, Sergey Kuryokhin, John Lindberg, Peter Brotzmann, Bill Laswell, Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, Ray Anderson, Richard Davis, Jack DeJohnette, Hans Dulfer, Misha Mengelberg, Han Bennink, John Zorn, The Talking Heads, Loved By Millions, etc.
Since his first recording as a
leader in 1977 Kenny has made over 50 CD recordings of his compositions.
He has performed throughout America, Canada, Western and Eastern Europe, Japan, Africa, Russia and the former Soviet Union, and Central Asia. He established his reputation as a composer and a virtuoso performer of the saxophone and clarinet, as well as being a restaurateur and co-owner with his wife, Junko Maslak, of the world famous Sushi Blues Cafe.
SOME PRESS -
"Kenny Millions is a world-renowned saxophone and clarinet master". City Link Magazine
An absurdist, a Dadaist, a Beatnik, sure. But most of all a punk.....And even though that voice can be somewhat schizophrenic, lovely and passionate, then discordant and mocking, it's ultimately the voice of a creative soul. And that creative soul is having a helluva good time." New Times Magazine
"Maslak hates predictability,
so he always hopes that a live performance won't reflect any of his album
work. His solo playing throws diverse raw materials into an exhaustively linear
chewing-over process, his logical lines uncoiling like a giant's intestine,
his atonal practices filtered through a wailing blues haze".
Birmingham Post (England)
"His music is creative terrorism, with an eclectic style that charms the metropolis". Swing Journal (Japan)
"I have never talked to someone quite as outspoken as Kenny Millions, once known as Keshavan Maslak. Whatever he is Millions is two things, honest and one hell of a saxophone player. His resume is impressive, including Paul Bley, Sam Rivers, Misha Mengelberg and Han Bennink, easily proving my point. He is about as anti-establishment as possible and that just wins him over more in my book. He does it all on his own, own label, own club, own website, own way. I like". www.jazzweekly.com
"Millions' penchants for sound generation are almost beyond parallel. You might say this is one of jazz's best possible directions today. It ís not overhyper or madly caterwauling. It shows enormous thoughtfulness for the partnership at hand. Millions' clarinet is as serene as his tenor sax is blunt and blustery. Take this in fearlessly." Victory Review
"Actually, my legal name is Kenneth Keshavan Maslak; that's what's on my passport. Kenny Millions is an extension of that. It's the theatrical thing in me, the American entertainment thing, the Motown thing... Any performer assumes an alter ego when they get onstage, whether they're aware of it or not. Even if you're playing an instrument, you're still an actor. When I get onstage now, I don't feel like Keshavan Maslak, I feel like Kenny Millions."