Born in 1943 in Philadelphia, the younger brother to saxophonist Bill Barron. He began playing the piano at age 12 and went professional at age 15. In 1961 Kenny Barron moved to New York to work with James Moody and later Dizzy Gillespie - touring the US and Europe from 1962 - 64. High profile sideman work followed ( Freddie Hubbard, Yusef Lateef, Buddy Rich, Ron Carter). In 1980 he co-lead the group Sphere with saxophonist Charlie Rouse, bassist Buster Williams and drummer Ben Riley and finally set up his own trio and quintet. He also was Stan Getz' pianist during the last period of the great saxophonist's life.
In 1973 he became member of the teaching staff at Rutgers University. Originally a mainstream pianist, Kenny Barron has developed into a highly original creator of post bop jazz which is also reflected by the growing number of his compositions several of which a have achieved the status of jazz standards (Voyage, Phantoms). Lately Kenny Barron has been exploring multi-rhythmic and electronic music without giving up to lend his incomparable talent as accompanist to many record sessions.