Kenwood Dennard

Image Credits: Kenwood Dennard Zildjian smile © Melanie Futorian

November 17, 2018

Then, Now and Later

I sat down with Kenwood Dennard masterful, innovative drummer and educator and asked him about his life then, now and later...

“It’s all right here baby, right in the present, that’s where I’m at. And right now I just made a CD called “Show No Fear” with Kenwood Metajam Allstars on Groove Economy Records. It’s with some amazing artists including Stanley Jordan, Delmar Brown, Vernon Reid and TM Stevens. My wife Cherie co- produced the CD with me and plays percussion on it. She wears many hats.
So here I am, sitting in Manna House Workshop in East Harlem, the arts center my mother, Gloria founded in 1967. It was a musical playground for me growing up, where at one point I even had a 39 piece drum-set downstairs. This is the ultimate then, now and later as I first started drumming when I was 9, teaching here when I was 11 and I’ve been a professor at Berklee College of Music for the last 22 years.
In terms of later? Well, if you’re too late you’re going to miss this CD coming out,” Kenwood says with a smile.
“We just released it on, CD Baby, I Tunes and on Amazon too.
I see my music as being meta-rhythmic, transcending the mundane so it has a lot of different elements. It always stretches, you can always feel something. It’s more of a groove, a pulse, it's danceable.
I do some 6 way panasonic co-ordination on the CD, which is where I play keyboards and drums at the same time. A 2 way panasonic co-ordination would be just playing drums and singing.
To hear more of that, you’ll have to check out my other band, Metarhythmic Orchestra, which is my one man band that I’ve been doing for ages.
I was there in the beginning of the jazz fusion movement. Loved playing with Delmar Brown. We toured all over the world with Sting and Jaco Pastorius. Jaco was one of my favorite persons to play with as it was so freeing and I so enjoyed drumming for Pat Martino too. He was on the cutting edge artistically and intellectually, stretching the melodic boundaries like George Benson,
I had fun playing with Manhattan Transfer, George Clinton, Chick Corea, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul, Miles Davis, Maceo Parker, and so many others but one musician who taught me a lot about drumming with vocalists, is singer Gloria Dennard. It’s been a joy. You can’t duplicate that artistic connection - and the fact that she’s my mother, well that’s another step beyond.
Art Blakey once said to me, whatever you do, don’t hold back.
So, let’s see what later brings”.

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