Clarence Penn

Clarence Penn moved from Detroit, Michigan to attend Interlochen Arts Academy. After graduating, he went to the University of Miami and, one year later, transferred at Wynton Marsalis’ suggestion to Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Wynton Marsalis was Ellis’ father. Penn traveled with Wynton Marsalis and Ellis to Japan in 1990. There he met Lewis Nash. Betty Carter was impressed by the young drummer and recommended him to Nash. Penn was hired by Nash and moved to New York City, NY in 1991. After several years of being with Betty Carter, Penn moved to New York City in 1991. He then went on playing with Stanley Clarke. He has performed, recorded, and toured with many artists since then, including Christian McBride and Michael Brecker, Dizzy Gecker, Luciana Souza and Luciana Souza. Penn says, “It is important that people understand my versatility and sensitivity as well as professionalism.” Penn said that he is serious about his work and that he wanted people to understand that he could do the job that he was called to. In 1996, Criss Cross, an independent jazz label, invited Penn to record Penn’s Landing, his first album as a leader. The New York Times jazz critics voted Penn’s Landing one of the top records of 1997. Penn recorded “Play-Penn”, a song for Criss cross, in 2001. In 2002, he released “Saomaye”, his first album with Universal/Polygram. Penn will release two albums this year, one containing all his originals and the second a tribute to Thelonious monk, ten years after his last album. from

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