Family of Kenny Burrell raise funds for his medical and living expenses

    The 87-year-old jazz guitarist faces foreclosure and homelessness.

    Kenny Burrell at the Grammy's Salute to Jazz at Los Angeles' Grammy Museum in 2010
    Kenny Burrell in 2010. Image: Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

    The global jazz community was stunned into action late last week when the wife of Kenny Burrell set up a crowdfunding campaign for his medical and living expenses, revealing the 87-year-old artist’s dire financial straits.

    The Midnight Blue guitarist encountered an accident two years ago that he is still recovering from and incurring medical expenses for, his wife and caregiver Katherine Burrell revealed in the GoFundMe campaign’s description. She also disclosed that they have been victims of identity theft and bank fraud, and face foreclosure on their home and even homelessness.

    “It is my fervent, heartfelt desire to continue to care for Kenny as he deserves given who he is and all that he has given to the world through his music, and the beautiful spirit from which it emanated,” she wrote. “It saddens and embarrasses me to desperately need and request help, but it is necessary at this point.”

    The GoFundMe campaign is legitimate and was indeed created by Burrell’s wife, the Jazz Foundation of America confirmed in a statement. “Kenny and Katherine had been dealing with this situation alone for several years, because, as always, musicians are proud and self-reliant and do things on their own,” it read. “They did not even contact us to ask for help but were referred by friends.”

    The Foundation assessed the Burrells’ case and reviewed documents attesting to their financial need, it said in the statement, and after conferring with other helping organizations, concluded that “we couldn’t possibly cover the full scope of the need, and other sources of funding were explored, including a GoFundMe campaign, given how successful and life-saving they have proven for fellow musicians.”

    The GoFundMe campaign has been active for only three days, but has already passed its $100,000 goal. Find it here.