Date of Birth: 1944/10/26
Place of Birth: Washington, D.C., USA
Kenneth Lee "Kenny" Ascher is an American jazz pianist, composer, and arranger who is active in jazz, rock, classical, and musical theater genres - in live venues, recording studios, and cinema production. He is widely known for co-writing, with Paul Williams, Rainbow Connection - music from "The Muppet Movie". Both Williams and Ascher received Oscar nominations for the 1979 Academy Awards for Best Original Song ("Rainbow Connection") and Best Original Score (The Muppet Movie Soundtrack). The song was also nominated for the Golden Globes for "Best Original Song" that same year. Ascher's work through the years has included keyboard parts and string arrangements on John Lennon's albums Mind Games, Walls and Bridges and Rock 'n' Roll and Yoko Ono's A Story, music for several songs from Barbra Streisand's remake of "A Star Is Born" (where he also served as music coordinator), and arrangements for portions of Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf's masterpiece Bat Out of Hell (produced by Todd Rundgren). Ascher's own rendition of The Rainbow Connection was featured in the closing credits of "The Break-Up" (starring Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston). Ascher is the pianist with the Birdland Big Band, which performs Fridays from 5:15 to 7 at Birdland in New York City. The Birdland Big Band performs The Rainbow Connection, arranged by Lew Anderson. In the latter 1960s, Ascher played piano and arranged for the Woody Herman Orchestra. Herman hired Ascher - on the advice of Frank Foster - to replace Nat Pierce, who had departed. Ascher has been a member of ASCAP since 1968.
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