Clarence Penn is one of the busiest jazz drummers in the world, a leader of multiple bands, a composer, a prolific producer, and an educator. Since 1991, when he arrived in New York City, Penn has placed his unique blend of mega-chops, keen intellect, and heady musicianship at the service of a staggering array of A-list artistsâ€”a chronological short-list includes Ellis and Wynton Marsalis, Betty Carter, Stanley Clarke, Steps Ahead, Makoto Ozone, Michael Brecker, Dave Douglas, Maria Schneider, Luciana Souza, Richard Galliano, and Fourplay. Pennâ€™s impressive discography includes several hundred studio albums (including the Grammy-winning recordings 34th and Lex by Randy Brecker and Concert in the Garden and Sky Blue by Maria Schneider) representing a 360-spectrum of jazz expression, and heâ€™s toured extensively throughout the United States, the Americas, Europe, Japan, and Southeast Asia. Heâ€™s composed music for films and commercials, and produced tracks for numerous singers in the pop and alternative arenas. He earned a â€œTen Best of 1997â€ accolade from the New York Times for his first leader recording, Pennâ€™s Landing. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, where he was a protÃ©gÃ© of Ellis Marsalis, Penn is active as an educator and drum clinician. From 2004 to 2012, he taught on the faculty of the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music. Heâ€™s also served on faculty at the Stanford Jazz Workshop, the Saint Louis College of Music in Rome, Italy, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Intensive Jazz Institute. Penn currently leads several ensembles. His most recent â€œrhythmically intoxicatingâ€ recording is 2014â€™s â€œMonk The Lost Filesâ€arrangements of the music of Thelonious Monk. Released on the Origin record lable, an amazing quartet comprising saxophonist Chad Leftkowitz-Brown, Pianist Gerald Clayton/Donald Vega, and bassist Yasushi Nakamura performing the music of Thelonius Monk with todayâ€™s modern jazz sensibility. Near completion is a â€œworld musicâ€ studio project of songs and instrumentals that melds background voicesâ€”including his ownâ€”with a world class band. Whether Penn is leading his own band or performing as a sideman, he brings to the table unfailing versatility and professionalism, an ability to find creative ways to interpret a global array of styles and idioms, and a stated intention â€œto play music thatâ€™s warm and organic for the people and for myself.â€
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