Primary Instrument: Drums
GayeLynn McKinney's drumming style is electric; transitioning from jazz to latin to rock to funk, she is a woman with many facets. Her signature style of drumming can be seen through her uncanny improvisation, power, speed and an always-present deliberate control. McKinney is a founding member of the Detroit based, Grammy nominated all female jazz group STRAIGHT AHEAD. McKinney is also a talented saxophonist and singer and a member of a musical dynasty, which helps to explain her powerhouse style!
GayeLynn was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, her father, the legendary Harold McKinney, was a formidable jazz pianist and composer; her mother Gwendolyn McKinney a renowned singer and vocal instructor. She began playing the drums at the age of two and has had ample exposure to the creative music scene since birth.
McKinney received much of her musical training on the Detroit Jazz scene, but she also obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from Oakland University. At the university she was a part of the Meadowbrook Estate a world- renowned show choir and a member of the university jazz band. At Oakland University she learned and mastered music theory and composition.
GayeLynn is an active member of the Detroit jazz scene, performing workshops for novices, serious musicians, elementary, junior & senior high school and college students. She has also appeared at many local famous nightspots including the renowned Bakers Keyboard Lounge. Her hometown advantage has given her the opportunity to play with many famous jazz notables including Aretha Franklin, Carlos McKinney, Marcus Belgrave, Geri Allen, Harold McKinney, Regina Carter and many others.
Among GayeLynn McKinney's many awards, she was presented with an award for outstanding musical performance during Music Fest, USA where she won best drummer beating out over nine thousand participants. McKinney was recently awarded the 2004 Motor City Music Award with her group Straight Ahead for best jazz group.
GayeLynn McKinney's diverse drumming style has given her the opportunity to travel extensively and play at many famous jazz shows including Montreaux- Switzerland Jazz Festival, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Boston Globe Festival, the Kennedy Center, Jamaica Jazz and Heritage Festival-Montego Bay and the 1996 Olympics. She also did an extensive tour in Japan where she was the drummer for Speech of Arrested Development.
McKinney is an extraordinary all around gifted drummer and percussionist. Her lifelong love of music allows her to stir the soul with her broad-based knowledge of music in general. She is an instant showstopper, and is a musician to keep your eye on.
Gayelynn McKinney selected as a self driven, self motivated musician, to be featured in Jon Brumits radio tour. The tour celberates Meto Detroiters with unusual get-up-and-go such as Gayelynn McKinney, who fought to become one of the few female professional jazz drummers. - Michael Hodges, The Detroit News
Metro Times featured Gayelynn McKinney's first solo self released CD It's About Time. Part of the legendary musical McKinney clan and a member of Straight Ahead, drummer-keyboardist McKinney delivers a perfectly pleasant smooth jazz disc, including covers of Makin' Love in the Rain and Don't Worry Be Happy. Then there's the curve ball of the wailin' title track. Session players include violinist Regina Carter and Cassius Richmond. - W. Kim Heron, Metro Times