Born: April 27, 1927 | Died: November 30, 1994 Primary Instrument: Drums
Connie Kay will forever be remembered as the legendary drummer/percussionist for the Modern Jazz Quartet.
Self-taught on the drums, Kay played in the mid-'40s with Sir Charles Thompson, Miles Davis, and Cat Anderson. He was in Lester Young's quintet off and on during 1949-55, a time in which he also worked with Beryl Booker, Stan Getz, Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker and others. In February 1955, he joined the Modern Jazz Quartet (MJQ), traveling the world with the band up until it called it quits in 1974.
During that era he also was a guest on small-group sets with Chet Baker, Cannonball Adderley, Jimmy Heath and Paul Desmond with Jim Hall. During 1975-81 Kay worked with Tommy Flanagan, Soprano Summit, Benny Goodman and was the house drummer at Eddie Condon's club.
Because for just two months shy of 40 years (including seven years in which the group was on vacation), Connie Kay was the drummer/percussionist with MJQ, he may be most remembered as so. His subtle constant contributions were an invaluable asset to everyone he came in contact with. Connie Kay died Nov 30, 1994 in New York, NY.