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Clarence Penn

Primary Instrument: Drums

Born: March 2, 1968    

Clarence Penn

Clarence Penn ranks high among drummers who are versatile and savvy enough to play any style of music. Having played in a semi-professional capacity since the age of 15, Penn has toured, performed and recorded with a veritable who's who of musical stars, including Betty Carter, Ellis Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Jacky Terrasson, Roberta Flack, Dizzy Gilespie, Dianne Reeves, Cyrus Chestnut, Stephen Scott, Steps Ahead, Mike Stern and Rachel Z. He is probably one of the most sought after drummers of his generation on the scene.

Growing up the second of three children in his native Detroit Michigan, Penn got his first drum set as a third grader, picking the drums as his instrument of choice rather by chance. “My neighbor played the drums,” remembers Penn. “And I would hear him practicing everyday when I came home from school.” Although Penn admits to not wanting to practice, he nevertheless continued taking drum lessons, eventually reaching a level of competence on the drums that afforded him the opportunity to spend his last year in high school at Michigan's prestigious school of fine arts, Interlochen Arts Academy. There Penn toyed with the idea of pursuing a steady classical career, but was quickly drawn to the ultimately rigorous routine of a free-lance musician ....
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    Play Penn

    Criss Cross
    2001

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Criss Cross (2001)
”Mr. Penn using brushes might hesitate a minute, like a plane hitting an air pocket, suspending time for a second, then rush back in. It was musical wit, improvisational play at its best.” Peter Watrous - New York Times

”He has a way of pushing and filling-in and giving you the right kick to push you to the next level of playing.” John Swana, trumpeter

”He's classically trained, and knows a lot of music...he has the total package.” Tim Warfield, saxophonist

”A soft drummer, full of thoughtful choices...A revelation.” Harriet McLeod - News Leader staff writer

”His use of space was masterful, mind blowing.” Ryan Vertner - Indiana Daily News

”...stroking rather than thumping the kit, he played one of the most musical solos I've heard...” Keith Bruce - The Herald Glasgow

“Clarence is the kind of musician who leaves his judgments of music and musicians aside to provide the best support and complement...

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