Guitarist, Composer, Arranger
Guitarist and composer Ken Hatfield’s rare combination of talents makes him a truly singular artist. With his boundless imagination, formidable fingerstyle technique, and expansive musical knowledge, he has created a body of work of astonishing originality and exceptional quality.
Hatfield’s five CDs as a leader on the Arthur Circle Music label demonstrate his tremendous gifts as both composer and performer and attest to his consistently high level of artistry. His latest release, The Surrealist Table (out nationally 17 February 2004), showcases a program of ten original compositions performed by his highly interactive trio featuring the swinging rhythm section of bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer Jeff Hirshfield.
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On 2002’s Phoenix Rising, Hatfield was joined by the rhythm tandem of bassist Glawischnig and Brazilian drumming great Duduka da Fonseca, along with guest artists Claudio Roditi on trumpet and flugelhorn, Dom Salvador on piano, and Billy Drewes on tenor saxophone. Phoenix Rising generated enthusiastic radio airplay, earning it a firm presence on the national jazz charts for ten consecutive weeks. The project also received high praise from the critics, including Jim Ferguson’s recognition in the January/February 2003 issue of JazzTimes: “The set offers a representative cross section of his talents, which include writing for solo guitar. . . , a knack for Latin rhythms and moods . . . , and the ability to swing and even get downright funky. . . . Recommended for those with an affinity for the subtle and sublime.”
Hatfield’s compositional experience covers a wide range of styles and instrumentations. In addition to composing jazz works for his own ensemble(s), he has written chamber pieces that range from solo classical guitar to string quartet and mixed ensembles of various sizes. He has composed choral works and ballet scores, including commissioned works for Judith Jamison, The Washington Ballet Company, and the Maurice Béjart Ballet Company. And he has written scores for television and film, including Eugene Richards’ award-winning documentary but, the day came. ASCAP has recognized his accomplishments by presenting him with its Composition Award for each of the past fourteen years. Arthur Circle Music has published four books of Hatfield’s compositions, and in 2004 Mel Bay will publish his book Jazz and the Classical Guitar: Theory and Application, which is designed to demonstrate his unique approach to playing jazz on a classical guitar.
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In addition to performing as a solo artist and with his ensemble(s) at such prestigious venues as The JVC Jazz Festival, The Knitting Factory, The Classic American Guitar Show, The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the Whitney Sculpture Court, and the North Wales International Jazz Guitar Festival, Hatfield has performed and/or recorded with Charlie Byrd, Jack McDuff, Chico Hamilton, Jimmy McGriff, Melissa Manchester, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Stephanie Mills, Linda Hopkins, Billy Daniels, Pat Benatar, Maurice Hines, Charles Aznavour, Bob Cranshaw, Grady Tate, Harold Maburn, Brian Torff, Marcus Miller, Kenny Kirkland, Dom Salvador, João Donato, Lew Tabackin, Kenny Werner, Ben E. King, Eddie Kendricks, Marlena Shaw, Vivian Reed, Z.Z. Hill, and Toni Braxton.
Hatfield began studying the guitar with John Griggs in his hometown of Norfolk, Virginia, before enrolling at the Berklee College of Music, where he joined the faculty at the age of 19. He studied counterpoint and composition with Paul Caputo in New York City, and received the degree of Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York.
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