Portrait Kirk Lightsey

Kirk Lightsey is a Michigan-born pianist of immense accomplishment and versatility who worked with scores of major jazz stars. Lightsey also played for Motown hit recording sessions, and made time to study with classical pianist Boris Maximovich. In 1979 Lightsey joined the late Dexter Gordon’s group, one of the greatest American jazz tenor saxophonists, whom he had a five-year association with.

He signed with Sunnyside label, and in 1982 released Lightsey I, a solo piano recording. Then in 1983, pianist Harold Danko and Lightsey released Shorter by Two, a magnificent dual keyboard look at Wayne Shorter’s compositions. Lightsey also recorded on the Timeless, Criss Cross, Limetree and Evidence labels before he moved to France in the mid-‘90s. While touring in Europe, he conducted the Bucharest Symphony Orchestra and the Scala Symphony Orchestra in Spain, and also conducted the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra. Apart from being a legendary pianist, Lightsey is also an accomplished flautist and occasionally doubles on flute in live performances.