A fine pop-jazz keyboardist, Kim Pensyl has recorded a long string of bestselling sets for Optimism, GRP and Shanachie. Early on he played a variety of instruments including trumpet from age 12 and electric bass in a rock group before settling on keyboards. Pensyl attended Ohio State University, playing with the OSU jazz band. After earning a degree from the Eastman School of Music and attending Cal State Northridge, Pensyl worked in the Los Angeles area with a wide variety of bands including those led by Al Hirt, Don Ellis, Hubert Laws, Gerald Wilson and Louie Bellson; he even played trumpet with Guy Lombardo! After a few years of studio work, in 1988 (when he began his solo career and recorded his first set as a leader) Pensyl had his style together, playing what could be called atmospheric lite jazz. Pensyl Sketches #1, #2 and #3 all sold quite well; the former two sets were recorded with Pensyl as the only musician. Since then Kim Pensyl has been a popular attraction on the "contemporary jazz" circuit.
- by Scott Yanow
- Courtesy All Music Guide